Club América were able to get the job done at home and defeated Necaxa on Wednesday to go from 11th place to 6th in the league table. The first few games were a bit rough and maybe this win is the beginning of the momentum shift the team needs. That possible start will be tested when they welcome León at home today, while Necaxa welcome Querétaro tomorrow with hopes of securing their first win of the season.
With only three league matches under his belt, head coach André Jardine had started to garner some harsh criticism from fans. That was due to the poor form the team had during the first few games of the season that seemed to follow them into the Leagues Cup and in the last game against Atlas. It is true that the team has looked poor, but that is not Jardine’s fault completely. When the season first kicked off, Jardine was missing multiple key players who were away on national team duty and also suffering injuries. The biggest absence has been Henry Martin who suffered a leg injury during the Leagues Cup and who will be out for another few weeks. While Martin’s absence was a big hit, the signing of Julian Quiñones put fans at ease at first, but have seemed to change opiniona bit, as he’s only scored two goals in league play, while he’s missed so many more opportunities to score. Scoring is the biggest problem the team has currently. While the defense can also be looked at, it’s the offense that’s the biggest issue with the volume of missed chances in front of goal. Instead of putting the blame solely on Jardine, fans need to start looking at the players as well.
Due to the criticism Jardine was facing, Wednesday night’s match was a big one for him and the Águilas. Unfortunately, it didn’t start well for the home team as they went down 1-0 within the first three minutes of the match.
Facundo Batista opened the scoring in the third minute on a header after beating Emilio Lara to the ball and putting it past goalkeeper Angel Malagon. Lara had a fantastic night against Atlas, but then went and gave up a goal within minutes of the whistle last night. It was not a good look for a player who spent most of last season on the bench after losing his starting role. It wasn’t even two minutes later that Diego Valdes attempted to equalize, but he was unable to convert. That didn’t stop the team from knocking on the door. The continuous knocking eventually opened the door and the scoring for the home team in the 24th minute.
The play started from the back as Israel Reyes made a long pass down the field to Alejandro Zendejas. The ball almost went out, but Zendejas was able to get to it before it went out and kicked it into the box and to the feet of Diego Valdes who got the equalizer. Zendejas then showed up again just seven minutes later as he assisted on another goal.
Zendejas worked his way up the field and towards the box as Brian Rodriguez also made his way in. Zendejas got the ball to Rodriguez who was able to put it away and just like that América turned things around and took the lead after going down three minutes into the game.
Being down a goal after opening the score was not what Necaxa wanted, but they were only one goal away from an equalizer and they had the rest of the second half to find it. It only took 11 minutes to find that goal as Batista scored the equalizer in the 56th minute.
Somehow Batista found himself unmarked in the box which Brayan Garnica took advantage of when he sent the ball to the other side of the box. Once again, Lara was nearby and did not do his job defending, but this time he left a player wide open and the team paid for it. Thankfully, Quiñones was able to find a goal only five minutes later to regain the lead.
The goal came off of a defensive error that cost Necaxa a point. The Águilas were awarded a corner kick that goalkeeper Ezequiel Unsain could not get his hands on due to clashing with one of his own teammates and defender Alexis Peña was unable to clear the ball. That’s when Quiñones pounced on the misclearance and got the ball into the back of the net to regain the lead. While there were still 29 minutes left, Necaxa were unable to find another equalizer. It wasn’t for lack of opportunities as the Águilas defense was able to hold off any attack that came their way. Necaxa were lucky they didn’t receive more goals considering América had plenty of chances to put the game away but were unable to.
With this loss, Necaxa find themselves in the bottom 3 without a win so far this season. So far, they have just 2 points which has saved them from last place, since Puebla and Cruz Azul only have one point each. This win is a big step for Club América and Jardine as this just might be the start of the momentum the team needs that will silence any of Jardine’s critics.