Chivas got one of their biggest wins ever as they defeated their main rival América by the two goals they need to advance to the final. They took advantage of a red card and incredible defensive moves from América’s coach, Fernando Ortiz. The win is historic for Chivas, who eliminate America and qualify to their first Liga MX final since 2017, when they won their last title against the same rival they will face this time, Tigres.
Weather conditions weren’t optimal to start the match, as it was raining in the Azteca. América came in from the start with Alejandro Zendejas while Chivas came out with a starting 9 in Ronaldo Cisneros. A pass off a counter had Jonathan Rodriguez going into the area wide open, but he slipped and fell, probably because of the wet conditions. A great pass by Roberto Alvarado found Ronaldo Cisneros, who got past América’s goalkeeper Luis Malagon, and as Sebastian Caceres slid to try to clear, it bounced into the net for the opening goal that gave Chivas the 1-0 lead. Nothing much came for the rest of the half as Chivas took the one goal lead into the locker room and still a goal away from a final berth.
The second half started with Chivas subbing out Ruben Gonzalez for Alan Mozo. A cross into the area was brilliantly headed by Diego Valdes and it went right past JImenez for the tying goal that made the game 1-1. Brizuela would get off a left-footed shot that would force a good save from Malagon. There was a harsh foul from Alvaro Fidalgo on Fernando Beltran that earned him a yellow. Replays showed it was an aggressive foul and after going to VAR, the ref made the right decision in showing Fidalgo the red card and leaving América with 10 men. Because of this, América would go defensive and sub out Jonathan Rodriguez and Richard Sanchez for Jonathan Dos Santos and Pedro Aquino. Then off a counter attack, a cross by Mozo fell to Vega, whose shot was blocked by Malagon but went right to Ronaldo Cisneros, who headed the ball into the empty net. Replays showed that Victor Guzman, who hadn’t done anything in the match to that point, fouled Layun fro behind and the goal was called off.
Off a free kick, Chivas executed a surprise play and Alan Mozo was left wide open to take a strong right-footed shot that went right past America’s defense and Malagon for a goal that gave Chivas the 2-1 lead. A cross by Vega was mishit by Brizuela and almost turned to a great pass for Cisneros, but he failed to reach the ball. A cross into the area was headed by Rios but Malagon saved it. Then, a great cross by Mozo was brilliantly headed by Jesus Orozco and the ball went past Malagon for the goal that gave Chivas the 3-1 lead and punch their ticket to the final should it remain that way. Still without attackers, Chivas were in the clear and hung on to clinch the historic feat.
With the loss in the first leg, América came into the match as the heavy favorite against Chivas. Yet Chivas came up big with a great victory that sends them to the final and leaves América in total disarray. Chivas went on the offense from the start and took control of possession, but the home team did well to contain them after the first goal and then got the tie. The play that changed everything was América going down to 10 players after Fidalgo’s red card followed by coach Fernando Ortiz panicking and going extremely defensive. Subbing out Alejandro Zendejas (who had a poor game) and Diego Valdes for two defenders even after he had already subbed out Jonathan Rodriguez for a D-midfielder, meant the team was going totally defensive and Chivas only had to concentrate on going on offense. Thus, if they got the goals they needed, América wouldn’t be able to come back on offense, and that’s how it went. Chivas took advantage and the great work of coach Veljko Paunovic turned the team around. Thus, it was no surprise that Ortiz announced his resignation after the final while El Rebaño now look ahead to the final, where they will be slightly favored. Although right now it’s all about enjoying the huge moment that was defeating America and eliminating them in their own home. Chivas and their fans are in full ecstasy.