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Club América take the Clásico Joven yet again with 3-2 win over Cruz Azul

Cruz Azul were the better of the two, teams but couldn’t reflect it on the scoreboard.

Cruz Azul v America - Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Club América defeated Cruz Azul 3-2 and not only took the three points, but also the bragging rights once again for winning the Clásico Joven. Now, both teams will go on a short break as the FIFA window has arrived. After the break, Cruz Azul will travel to face Mazatlán while America will face off against rivals Guadalajara at home in the Clásico Nacional.

América were quick to set the pace as they had the first shot of the game within seconds that led to nothing. Cruz Azul came back right away as Uriel Antuna attempted a pass to Carlos Rotondi, but he was unable to reach the ball. América then made their mark as they opened the scoring within minutes at the Azteca.

Julian Quiñones now knows what it’s like to score in the Clásico Joven after his goal in the fourth minute. Diego Valdes started the goal as he passed the ball over to Brian Rodriguez who’s initial shot was blocked. However, Quiñones was there for the rebound as he put the ball past goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado. Cruz Azul wasted no time going for an equalizer as Antuna attempted a shot, but Luis Angel Malagon was there to make the save. Since his arrival, Malagon has been a critical piece for the Águilas. América almost doubled their lead as Quiñones attempted to surpise Jurado from long distance, but thankfully for them, the ball went too high. Even though there were many attempts by Cruz Azul to equalize, the actual goal didn’t come until the 24th minute.

Antuna received a pass that he was able to get off to Rotondi who somehow had no one marking him and no one approached him until it was too late. Rotondi put the ball past Malagon to equalize at the Azteca. Cruz Azul was by far the better side of the two, but that all came crashing down in the 38th minute as Carlos Rodriguez was sent off. Richard Sanchez had approached Rodriguez attempting to steal the ball and the frustration bubbled over for Rodriguez who gave him an elbow to the face. Originally it was a yellow card, but the referee went to VAR and changed it to a red. The card seemed to some as a controversial decision, but it wasn’t. After review, it was obvious Rodriguez was frustrated and Sanchez took advantage of that. However, Sanchez had no need to roll around the ground as VAR is present for these kinds of situations. Rodriguez had an incredible game and it was frustrating to see him leave the pitch. América took advantage of having more men on the field by scoring two goals back-to-back in injury time.

Richard Sanchez helped América take the lead with the second goal. It was similar to Cruz Azul’s goal when no one went up to Sanchez until it was too late. Then, Brian Rodriguez doubled the lead three minutes into injury time when he took his shot at the corner of the area and there was nothing Jurado could do to stop the shot. Within three minutes, América not only equalized, but doubled their lead. Cruz Azul needed the break to regroup, especially since they were down one player.

The second half did not start off great for Cruz Azul as Antuna was given a yellow card for a hard tackle on Alvaro Fidalgo. The home side was going to need to be careful as they couldn’t allow their frustrations get the best of them since they were already down one player and losing another would absolutely kill the game for them. The game then turned into a real clásico in the 60th minute, as players from both teams started to exchange heated words with every tackle. The second half was all Cruz Azul who had chance after chance, but weren’t able to put away any of their chances. Their best one came in the 76th minute as Rodrigo Huescas sent a cross into the area where Antuna attempted a bicycle kick, but his shot was just off. It wasn’t until a few minutes later when Antuna finally got his goal.

It had reached the 80th minute and as much as Cruz Azul had been attacking, it didn’t appear as though they would find one goal, let alone two to tie the game up. That’s when Antuna found himself open and took the opportunity to juke Jonathan dos Santos, and was able to get his shot past Malagon to bring the score within one. A few minutes later, Cruz Azul were awarded a free kick where Huescas took the shot, but he hit the wall instead and the subsequent corner turned into nothing.

Slowly, time was running out for Cruz Azul who continued to increase the pressure, but América did well in remaining calm and squashing any chance of a goal. In the end, the referee blew the whistle indicating the end of the game, but that did not stop the Cruz Azul players from running up to Quiñones and attempting to engage him in aggressive behavior. Quiñones was smart enough not to engage as he and his teammates knew if he did, he would possibly be suspended for their next match.

América’s next match is against Chivas, so he and his teammates did good in rushing him to the locker room and out of a potential suspension. Cruz Azul’s plan did not work out and now they must face Mazatlán as they attempt to climb out of the bottom of the table. Then there’s Club América who will welcome rivals Chivas to the Azteca in what will be no doubt an incredible Clásico Nacional.