Club América Scores Last Minute Goal to Seal Qualification

The Liga MX Clausura Playoffs got underway this week, and a sigh of relief can be had for América who sneak into the final four.
America v New England - Concacaf Champions Cup 2024
America v New England - Concacaf Champions Cup 2024 / Manuel Velasquez/GettyImages

The honours were left even after the first leg after an evenly fought 1-1 draw left all to play for on Saturday 11th May at the Estadio Azetca.

The first leg with Pachuca taking the lead through Salomón Rondón. A sloppy attempted pass from Álvaro Fidalgo was cut out by the Venezuelan forward before playing the ball into the path of Erick Sánchez. Firing his effort on goal, Luis Malagón parried the shot to his right, with Rondón being the first to react and fire home into an empty net.

Twenty minutes later and Las Aguilas responded. Former Feyenoord winger Javairo Dilrosun floated an excellently weighted ball into the box for Henry Martin to score his sixth goal of the campaign.

Club América got the job done

The 1-1 result gave América the belief that they could go on and win the tie back in the capital, in front of their home supporters at the Azteca. However, Pachuca has become a difficult opponent for the 14-time Liga MX Champions, failing to beat them in their last four games. Concern also came from the fact that the two recently faced off in the CONCACAF Champions League, where all was to play for in the second leg before Pachuca booked their place in the final in place of America.

Nonetheless, the second leg started in the same pattern as the first. A Pachuca goal. Missing the first leg through suspension was Oussama Idrissi, but he instantly made his presence felt on his return with a goal.

Stunning those in the Azteca, Rondón played a crucial role in the build up for the goal, Holding onto the ball in the corner, his Pachuca teammates pressure America deep in their own box to force a huge error.

After winning the ball off of Rondón, the América defenders tried to play the ball around the back before Cristian Calderon attempted a pass across the goal, only to find the feet of the Pachuca winger, six meters from goal, who could not believe his lucky. Receiving the ball so close to the goal, Idrissi smashed his shot into the roof of the net to give Los Tuzos an early lead.

Time slipped away from Andre Jardine and his men, and they found a breakthrough in the 93' minute, five minutes from time. Diego Valdés lofted in a ball from deep into the penalty area, which was met by Illian Hernández, whose effort was met by Pachuca's goalkeeper Carlos Moreno, but like the opening goal in the first leg, Moreno could only palm the save into the direction of Julián Quiñones who had an easy tap in to bring the game back to a 1-1 scoreline.

In most usual circumstances, the game would go to an extra 30 minutes of play. However, the Liga MX dictates that in the event of a draw after two 90 minutes of football, the team that finished higher in the regular eason, in this case, Club America, it will be they who pass into the next round. Meaning for complete heartbreak for Pachuca and their travelling fans from the state of Hidalgo.