Agustín Marchesín dazzled in goal for América, while his counterpart Alfredo Saldívar starred for the Pumas.
The Clásico Capitalino ended in a 1-1 draw, setting the stage for a fantastic showdown at the Estadio Azteca on Sunday in the Liga MX semifinals. América surely laments the missed penalty kick, while the Pumas likely feel they would have won the match if not for Marchesín’s heroics.
The Pumas were not as sharp and incisive as they can be, but that is partly because América packed in their defense, especially in the second half. I struggled with América’s grades because their performance was affected by the tactical decision to park the bus. So I might not have liked what they did, but since they carried out coach Miguel Herrera’s strategy, they ought not be penalized.
Here’s a breakdown of the grades:
Alfredo Saldívar – 9
His save of a close-range Paul Aguilar blast (he took it off the gut) kept América from going up 2-0 in the first half. He had two tremendous saves late in the match to preserve the tie, but his 75th-minute save of a Roger Martínez penalty kick boosted his mates and set the stage for a frantic finish.
Alan Mozo – 7
He started a bit slow, but was much more effective after the Aguilas settled back into a defensive shell. With more room to operate, he pressed forward. His nifty cutback pass in minute 51 led to the UNAM goal.
Luis Quintana – 5.5
Did not play poorly, but did not shine either. The penalty he conceded was a tough one to criticize – it wasn’t blatant, but he should have been more careful with his arm placement.
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Alejandro Arribas – 7
Physical and aggressive, he attacked plays before they could get started. He was less of a presence when América went to a lone striker formation, but contributed with his passing.
Víctor Malcorra – 5
An early blow to the knee probably limited him in his new role as left back. He was badly beaten by Diego Lainez to give up the goal and was subbed out just after the hour.
Pablo Barrera – 6
The Pumas skipper was not the terror he has often been this season, but he kept Luis Reyes pinned back. He just missed a close-in volley on an over-the-shoulder pass when it was slightly deflected en route.
David Cabrera – 6
His soft volley over the defense almost led to a Felipe Mora goal in minute 66. He played a strong match, standing up to the rugged América midfield and contributing to transitions. He had another nice bid for a chipped assist by Emanuel Aguilera deflected it.
Andrés Iniestra – 5
Rarely heard his name called which means he didn’t make any mistakes. He played a deeper role and helped scuttle América forays toward the box.
Martín Rodríguez – 7
A fine finish on an easy ball from Mozo tied the match. The Uruguayan was effective in preventing Paul Aguilar from venturing forward too much and he was rarely dispossessed.
Felipe Mora – 5
Didn’t find much space in the middle of América’s 3-man central defense. Nice chest trap and flick off Cabrera’s pass could have put UNAM in front but Marchesín denied him. Subbed out with 11 minutes to go.
Carlos González – 6.5
I wanted to grade him lower because he played poorly at the outset (refusing the easy pass and dribbling into trouble several times) but he really picked up his game. Zipped a long-distance shot by the post, banged a narrow-angled shot off the post late and really got after the ball.
Alan Mendoza – 5
Lost his starting position to Malcorra and sent on to replace him in minute 62 but did not distinguish himself. Picked up a yellow and made some rash challenges.
Juan Iturbe – 6
Came on for Mora in minute 79 to help contain América’s counterattacks. Acquitted himself well.
Matías Alustiza – N/A
Replaced Rodríguez in minute 84.
Agustín Marchesín – 9
A monster game from the Argentine. He made six saves, including a kick save off a deflection in the first half. He came off his line quickly to smother a chance after Felipe Mora got behind the defense.
Paul Aguilar – 6
Was unable to contribute much offensively, especially after the Aguilas decided to cede possession and play the counter. Twice denied from in close in minute 41.
Emanuel Aguilera – 5
Rarely heard his name called but he was in the middle of the action when the Pumas ventured into the box. The Aguilas had no corner kicks and only a few free kicks in the offensive half, so his offensive contribution was minimal.
Edson Álvarez – 6
Was a wrecking ball in the area and effective moving forward which he did judiciously. Came up a bit lame just before the final whistle and that is a development worth tracking
Bruno Valdez – 6
He and Aguilera did not give Mora any room to breath and he worked hard to eliminate shooting lanes.
Luis Reyes – 5
His role seemed to be well-defined. Stay wide and chase Pablo Barrerra and keep track of Alan Mozo when he overlaps. He did a decent job.
Diego Lainez – 8
His goal in minute 21 was brilliant. He has just made a dangerous pass through the box on his previous possession and gave every indication he was going to make a similar pass but instead flashed a shot inside the near post. He laid off a pass to Paul Aguilar in minute 41 that should have been América’s 2nd. Was subbed out in minute 71 in a curious move.
Guido Rodríguez – 7
He prowled the center of the pitch in his usual menacing manner and showed no indications of being less than 100 percent (he missed practice time with muscle fatigue). He did not have too many chances in attack but skied one promising opportunity.
Mateus Uribe – 6
His two-way play was not up to his usual standards, but you knew he was out there. He made it difficult for UNAM to traverse the middle of the field and hopped into attack with ease.
Oribe Peralta – 4
Just missed slotting one home with his left foot early on and picked up a yellow for a bad tackle. Otherwise, he didn’t contribute much of anything. Subbed out in minute 58.
Roger Martínez – 4
His miss from the penalty spot could turn out to be crucial. He started out in promising fashion, but then was left solo up front and he disappeared. Subbed out in minute 89 and his starting spot in the return leg could be up for grabs.
Renato Ibarra – 6
Came on for Peralta just before the hour mark and led a few promising counterattacks, especially during the final 10 minutes when the Pumas drifted forward more.
Andrés Ibarguen – 6
Replaced Lainez in minute 71 and forced two fine saves from Saldívar. Could have been the hero.
Henry Martín – N/A
Subbed in just before full time.