Pachuca is proving to be invincible at home, while América struggled to put away 10-man Puebla.
Watch out, Toluca! The Diablos Rojos will be the next visiting team to play the Tuzos in Estadio Hidalgo where Pachuca is 5-0-0 with a 13-1 goal differential after destroying Tijuana on Saturday afternoon.
Later Saturday night, América played more than 40 minutes with a man advantage but could not put away Puebla until the game’s final minutes. In the late games, Toluca fought host Necaxa to a 1-1 tie while last-place Querétaro battled the visitingt Chivas to a scoreless draw.
Tuzos 4, Xolos 0
The Xolos came into Pachuca looking like the stronger team, riding a 3-game winning streak and a 5-game unbeaten streak.
The Tuzos, on the other hand, have been inconsistent all season, losing 5-0 in their season opener and twice by 3-0 scores. At Estadio Hidalgo, however, Pachuca has proven to be unstoppable, winning all four of their home games heading into the match.
Saturday afternoon would prove to be more of the same for the Tuzos, as they routed the Xolos with a free-flowing offense that had Tijuana defenders’ heads’ spinning.
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In minute 10, Pachuca defender Stiven Barreiro nodded home the opener off a cross from Erick Aguirre, making up for the two own-goals he recorded last week in the Tuzos’ 3-0 loss. Five minutes later, Edwin Cardona took a free kick wide left of goal and sent a low burner into the scrum in the center of the box. Somehow, the ball went through the crowd and Leo Ulloa (pictured at top) touched it home unmolested at the back post.
Pachuca continued to find room to operate and Tijuana never fully recovered from the twin gut-punches.
Cardona would score twice early in the second half, both coming courtesy of Franco Jara.
In minute 49, Pachuca started a counterattack, sending an outlet pass to Jara who, with his back to goal near midfield, tipped the pass around his marker, circled the defender and moved in on goal creating a 3-on-1. When the Xolos’ lone defender committed, Jara squared to the onrushing Cardona who deked once then ripped a low shot inside the near post.
Four minutes later, Jara squared across the top of the box to Cardona just right of center and the Colombian playmaker snapped a diagonal shot inside the left post for the 4-0 lead.
The Tuzos continued to buzz around the Tijuana area the rest of the game and at times it felt like they should have double-digit goals, so complete was their dominance.
Pachuca moved from 8th place to 4th place with the win, while Tijuana dropped from 4th to 6th, pending the outcome of the rest of the weekend’s matches.
América 1, Puebla 0
The Aguilas ran circles around visiting Puebla for the entire match, but could not figure out how to beat Camoteros goalie Nicolás Vikonis. They were aided by the expulsion of Puebla defender Alan Acosta in minute 48.
América enjoyed 67% possession and fired 24 goals, getting 8 on net, while Puebla managed only 4 shots, getting just a single shot on net.
Vikonis made a string of saves late in the match and appeared to have saved a draw for the Camoteros, but América forward Henry Martín raised his hand to play the hero.
The Aguilas poured into the box during a sustained possession then Renato Ibarra lifted a cross into the middle of the crowd. Bruno Valdez rose up and headed it cleanly only to see it ricochet off the left post. Martín swooped in and collected the rebound, but instead of turning a and trying to force a shot through a group of legs, he dropped the ball back to Francisco Córdova who had a clearer look at goal. The youngster was unmarked and he fired a low shot inside the near post for the winner in minute 87.
América coach Miguel Herrera won’t be happy with the way his club played, but he’ll take the 3 points. Next up for the Aguilas are two consecutive Super Clásicos. América hosts Guaddalajara on Wednesday in a Copa MX quarterfinal match, then the Chivas host América next Saturday in their Matchday 11 tilt.