Three of four matches were determined via penalty kick shoot-outs. In the other, América overcame a first-half deficit to advance past Pachuca.
Morelia, Tijuana, Sinaloa and América earned berths in the Copa MX quarterfinals, but only América was able to accomplish the feat with a win. The other three teams survived penalty kick shoot-outs to reach the final eight.
Four more Copa MX Round of 16 matches are scheduled for Wednesday night.
Morelia 1, Puebla 1 (Morelia wins shoot-out 3-0)
Lucas Cavallini put No. 16 seed Puebla ahead early in the second half and then the Camoteros parked the bus in hopes of seeing out the win. Top-seeded Morelia began to surge forward as Puebla sat back in a shell.
The “prevent defense” strategy worked for nearly 40 minutes as Puebla keeper Nicolás Vikonis was brilliant between the pipes and his defense was efficient in clearing crosses and deflecting passes.
In minute 86, Puebla inexplicably got caught too far forward and in an unbalanced formation. Morelia gathered possession deep in its own half and countered swiftly. With the Puebla formation tilted to the left side, Carlos Ferreira passed wide right to Carlos Fierro who chipped to Rey Sandoval alone at the top of the box. Sandoval was able to get past Vikonis and just as he was lining up his shot defender Jesús Soto inadvertently poked the ball into his own net.
Puebla missed all three of its penalty shots with 21-year-old Morelia keeper Luis Malagón blocking two of the efforts. Sandoval and Sebastián Vegas converted their kicks for the Monarcas and Gastón Lezcano slotted home the clincher.
Morelia will host Tijuana in the quarterfinal match in two weeks.
Tijuana 1, Oaxaca 1 (Tijuana wins shoot-out 4-3)
The host Xolos took an early lead off a Luis Chavez blast from nearly 30 meters, but the Alebrijes tied it 8 minutes later when Vladimir Moragrega beat goalie Carlos Higuera to a long pass and headed home from the top of the box.
More from Viva Liga MX
- Guillermo Ochoa is out 4-6 weeks
- The Clásico Regiomontano is Heating Up
- Pumas: In Search of Regaining a Top Spot
- Why the United States Is Set to Overtake Mexico on the World Stage
- Erick Gutierrez is out once again
Oaxaca was entrenched in a 5-4-1 formation, effectively cutting off through passes and frustrating the Xolos with long clearance passes that produced the occasional counter-attack. Still, Tijuana enjoyed the better scoring opportunities, but Oaxaca goalie Luis Robles repeatedly denied the Xolos.
Tijuana coach Oscar Pareja got a good look at several Xolos academy players – including goalie Higuera who is only 18 – and they performed well. Daniel López, also 18, nearly played the hero, but squandered two scoring chances. Though the teenager needs to fine-tune his finishing, his movement was terrific.
The Xolos won the shoot-out when Higuera saved Oaxaca’s last shot by Rodrigo Noya after which Gustavo Bou powered home his turn, just as he did against Necaxa on Saturday night.
No. 8 seed Tijuana will visit No. 1 seed Morelia in the quarterfinals in two weeks’ time.
América 5, Pachuca 2
The Aguilas found themselves trailing Pachuca 2-1 at the half, so coach Miguel Herrera brought in striker Henry Martín and took off fullback Jorge Sánchez. The gamble paid off as Martín scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half and fellow striker Roger Martínez netted two more to put away the Tuzos.
Nicolás Benedetti scored his debut goal for the Aguilas with a header in minute 21, but it only took Pachuca 5 minutes to turn the tables. Roberto de la Rosa, 19, headed home at the back post to equalize in minute 23 and Leo Ulloa finished off a scintillating counter-attack three minutes later.
The go-ahead goal was a beauty, starting deep in Tuzos territory. Edwin Cardona found space through the middle of the field with Ulloa on his right and De la Rosa on his left and only two defenders back. Ulloa then turned into the middle and Cardona pushed pass into the path of Víctor Guzmán who was racing down the right flank. Guzmán spun his defender around and drove a low centering pass that Ulloa slid home with his right foot.
When América failed to respond to coach Herrera’s liking, he made his change coming out of the locker room. In minute 48, Martín took a pass from Benedetti at the top of the box, shielded defender Jaine Barreiro and swung his right foot just as another defender – Miguel Tapias closed in from his right. Tapias blocked the shot right off Martín’s foot, but it deflected the shot sharply toward the left post and goalie Leonel Moreira had no chance as the change of direction wrong-footed him.
In minute 55, Martín pounced on a rebound in close and slotted home unmolested. Six minutes later, Martínez was given too much space by Barreiro and had time to size up his shot. The Colombian stepped right and loaded up, blasting a laser inside the far post for the 4-2 lead.
No. 4 seed América could host No. 5 seed Guadalajara in a Copa MX Super Clásico if the Chivas defeat second division Atlético San Luis on Wednesday night.
Sinaloa 0, Atlas 0 (Sinaloa wins shoot-out 4-2)
The second division Dorados survived 90 minutes of Atlas pressure then knocked home all 4 of their penalty shot attempts to move on.
The Dorados didn’t show much on offense, but Diego Maradona’s men were solid enough on defense to deny the struggling Zorros what wold have been a deserved victory.
The No. 6 seed Dorados will face either UNAM (No. 3 seed) or Zacatepec (No. 14) in the quarterfinals.