Martín gets brace but America settles for draw

Renato Ibarra (right) battles Queretaro's Jesus Escoboza their 2-2 draw at Estadio Azteca. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
Renato Ibarra (right) battles Queretaro's Jesus Escoboza their 2-2 draw at Estadio Azteca. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images) /

The Aguilas and Gallos were forced to share the points after an entertaining 90 minutes in Estadio Azteca.

Querétaro emerged from Estadio Azteca with a valuable point, surviving a second-half America onslaught and coming away with a 2-2 draw. Henry Martín – just back from an extended day on injury row – scored twice for the Aguilas who are getting healthy in time for the stretch run. Alonso Escoboza nabbed the equalizer for the Gallos Blancos in minute 80.

The result sees Querétaro hold onto third place, 2 points back of Santos Laguna, while America slid one spot and is now in fifth place.

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The game was played at a fast pace throughout, with both teams putting extreme pressure on the opposing defense. The Aguilas enjoyed 59% possession and fired 21 shots, 7 of which were on target. Fortunately for the visitors, goalie Gil Alcalá was up to the task, making five saves, including a spectacular game-saver in added time.

Gallos Blancos winger Fabián Castillo ripped open the America defense as the clock struck 30 minutes, racing past three defenders in a diagonal run inside from the left flank. He then sent a crisp pass into the box where Aké Loba touched it right back to Castillo, who one-timed a shot from 12 meters right over the head of a helpless Memo Ochoa.

Querétaro had not even finished celebrating when the Aguilas knotted the score. Renato Ibarra let fly from about 20 meters but Gallos Blancos defender Jair Pereira blocked the shot which bounced high off the ground and into the box. Martín reacted first and he got his boot on the ball before Alcalá could chase it down.

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Henry Martín celebrates his first of two goals against Queretaro. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

The Gallos just missed a chance to regain the lead in minute 43 when Loba tried to redirect a pop-up while back-tracking inside the box, but mishit the difficult volley, sending it just wide of the far post. The striker from the Ivory Coast had participated in the build-up to the play, supplying a clever pass to Alexis Pérez but Pérez’s shot was blocked and ricocheted up into the air inside the defense where Loba had gotten free of his marker.

Alcalá, the Querétaro keeper, made sure the score remained tied at the half when he made a reflex save on a Richard Sánchez shot from point-blank range. America’s Roger Martínez had made a run into the box, but his dribble was interrupted and the ball squirted right to Sánchez.

During the second half, America moved their lines a bit further forward and slowed down the Querétaro fast break with a physical presence in midfield led by Guido Rodríguez. The Aguilas established themselves in the Gallos Blancos half of the field and peppered Alcalá with shots.

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Memo Ochoa has not been the backstop America hoped for. The Mexico goalie has given up multiple goals twice and has yet to keep a clean sheet. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images) /

In minute 79, Martín collected a pass from Federico Viñas just past midfield and took off on a dead run straight for goal. His move caught the Gallos Blancos flat-footed since America has been attacking from the wings. Martín dribbled past two Gallos Blancos and the last defender – Luis Romo – took a bad angle, allowing the Aguilas’ striker to get into the box alone. As Alcalá raced out off his line, Martín guided his shot past the onrushing goalie and America led 2-1.

This time it was Querétaro’s turn to spoil a celebration and the Gallos Blancos moved forward immediately, catching the Aguilas off guard. George Corral filtered a pass to Escoboza just outside the box and he lined up a left-footer that deflected off Jorge Sánchez, veering left as Ochoa dived right, silencing the Estadio Azteca crowd.

With 5 minutes to go, America captain Paul Aguilar shook the crossbar with the shot. A minute later, Querétaro broke out on a 3-on-2, but a hustling Sánchez caught up to the play and wrecked the Gallos’ counterattack.

Deep into added time, Renato Ibarra teed up Viñas but Alcalá timed his leap perfectly and parried the Uruguyan’s left-footed blast that was ticketed for the upper left corner.

With the result, Querétaro remains unbeaten on the road (3-2-0). They return home to host Necaxa on Matchday 11. America will travel to the border to face FC Juárez next Sunday.