Miguel Herrera guided the Aguilas to the Clausura 2019 Copa MX title, the first leg of the double he desires.
Defender Emanuel Aguilera (back row, second from right in photo above) played the hero on both offense and defense, scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in minute 40, then heading away a Juárez free kick that was destined for the top right corner in minute 65.
América controlled the match for considerable stretches, but could not find the target despite getting finding space in good spots and getting deep down the flanks. The Aguilas never could score from the run of play, but their defense – especially in midfield – made it hard for the Bravos to create scoring chances.
In minute 18, Juárez keeper Iván Vázquez made a lunging, fingertip save on a shot by Nicolás Benedetti who had dribbled into space at the top of the box.
Five minutes before halftime, Juárez defender Christian Pérez chased back into the box to clear a through ball behind the Bravos back line, but he failed to notice that América striker Henry Martín was hustling after him. Not only did Martín get a toe on the ball first, but when Pérez swung his foot it smacked into the striker’s thigh and down he went in a heap. The penalty was correctly called and Aguilera converted smoothly.
Shortly thereafter, América goalie Agustín Marchesín made a fantastic save to deny the Bravos the equalizer just before halftime. A low cross from the left was headed for Juárez striker Leandro Carrijo at the top of the 5-yard box and Marchesín dived back toward the middles of the goal just as Carrijo volleyed back toward the near post, but Marche got a trailing leg on the ball, deflecting it just wide.
In the second half, the Bravos pressed forward and midfielders Edy Brambila and Gabriel Hachen were skittering through spaces between América’s lines, but nobody could find room to get off a shot as Aguilera and central defense partner Bruno Valdez protected the area.
In minute 65, the Bravos were afforded a free kick about 25 meters from goal and goalkeeper Vázquez – a free kick specialist – strode upfield to take his chances. Marchesín not only had his defense set up a wall, he also had two defenders guarding the posts. It turned out to be a savvy request.
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Vázquez curled a beautiful left-footer over the wall and it was ticketed for the upper right corner but Aguilera leaped and strained upward, just managing to nod the ball over the post and out of harm’s way. It would be a game-saver.
For the remainder of the match, the ripping winds played havoc with high balls (some that would end up a few yards BEHIND the spot from which they were kicked), but there was end-to-end action as Juárez pressed forward and América counter-attacked.
Midfielders Edson Álvarez and Guido Rodríguez disrupted offensive thrusts by the Bravos, keeping Marchesin upright until the Argentine goalie made a diving save on an Edy Brambila shot in the game’s final minutes.
The whistle blew at 90+4 and Miguel Herrera and his coaching staff leaped into the air after which “El Piojo” ran onto the field and jumped into the arms of Marchesín before giving bearhugs to each of his players.
América now has a record 6 Copa MX titles although this year’s was the first since 1974.
Note: América’s Henry Martín won the Golden Boot for the Clausura 2019 Copa MX tournament, scoring 5 goals, one more than UNAM’s Juan Iturbe and Aguilas teammate Roger Martínez. … América was understandably the heavy favorite as their payroll exceeds 86 million dollars (yes, that’s right – $86.2 million) while the Juárez wage total reaches only $12 million.