Atlas opened their Quarterfinal series against Chivas by getting a 1-0 win in the first leg. Atlas were the better team and got a deserved result that might have even been short in terms of score. Chivas will need to improve a lot on Sunday, and now must win the match as a tie will give the ticket to the Semifinal to Atlas.
The first half started with both teams coming out with their best, including Atlas having the return of Julio Furch after suspension. Both teams came out trying to be offensive but in a cautious way, so there were few truly dangerous chances. Carlos Cisneros got off a good right footed shot that forced Atlas’ goalkeeper Camilo Vargas to make a good save. Later it was Alexis Vega who got off a shot from outside the area that Vargas saved. Off an Atlas counter, Ozziel Hererra looked to have been brought down in the area by Jesus Orozco but no call was given. Even though replays showed their could have been a penalty, no call was given even after VAR made their check. Jeremy Marquez then got off a left footed shot from outside the area but it went wide. Off of a free kick, Brian Lozano hit a great shot that forced Chivas’ goalkeeper Miguel Jimenez to make a big save. A cross by Cisneros looked to have been possibly handled by Luis Reyes, but noting was called. After going to VAR, the referee gave the penalty, although replays showed that the handball had been accidental and shouldn’t have been given. Victor Guzman stepped up to take the penalty, but his shot was saved by Vargas in a play that might have been a bit of divine justice. Off of a free kick, Lozano had an even better shot than last time, as the ball bounced off of the post. A cross into the area was volleyed but it went wide. Then in the 42nd minute, a long ball into area was brilliantly lowered in the area by Furch into the path of Julian Quiñones, who got off a right footed shot past Jimenez and into the net to give Atlas the 1-0 lead. A free kick from Vega was saved by Vargas. The halftime whistle blew and Atlas took their lead into the dressing room.
The second half started with Atlas hoping to keep their lead while Chivas tried to bounce back. A cross by Guzman turned into a shot that forced a save from Vargas. In the 59th minute, Chivas subbed out Alexis Vega, Fernando Beltran, and Miguel Gonzalez for Isaac Brizuela, Alan Torres, and Pavel Perez. The substitutions looked to be strange, especially subbing out Vega. A long ball almost turned to a great chance, but Jimenez was able to clear the ball before an Atlas player could get to it for a possible one-on-one opportunity. Then a great cross by Lozano into the area found Herrera, who lowered the ball well but his shot from close range went just wide. It was inches from being a great goal that might have killed the game in favor of Atlas. In the 71st minute, Chivas subbed out Roberto Alvarado for Ronaldo Cisneros. Minutes later Atlas subbed out Ozziel Herrera for Javier Abella. Seconds after entering the match, Abella got off a right footed shot that went just wide. Quiñones then got off an incredible shot from way outside the area but it would hit the post. Chivas subbed out Cristian Calderon for Alejandro Mayorga in the 83rd minute. After a great counter, Quiñones almost got through two Chivas defender for a one-on-one, but the ball bounced off him. With just four minutes remaining in regulation, Atlas subbed out Julio Furch and Jeremy Marquez for Mauro Manotas and Edgar Zaldivar. A shot was saved by Jimenez. The game ended and Atlas got a well deserved victory in the 1st leg.
Atlas was the better side and took advantage of a Chivas side that wasted key plays like the penalty. Chivas’ offensive side, which was weaker than usual, ended when Vega had to be subbed out with Victor Guzman having a howler and not taking Vega’s role as the offensive mainstay. He had earlier missed the penalty, which means this is easily his worst game since arriving at Chivas. Atlas now are in a prime seat as Chivas needs to get a victory on Sunday and Atlas are a team that defensively does the job and loves to counter. Right now with Quiñones being in a great level of play and Chivas having their best player probably injured, they might be slightly favored to make it to the Semifinals.