Pachuca to Represent México in the CONCACAF Champions League Final

Midweek antics caused for shock as Club America failed to reach the final, as Monterrey also waved goodbye to their continental silverware chances.

All was to play for between Club América and Pachuca after the 1-1 result from the first leg. The game was evenly fought between the Liga MX Apertura champions and a Pachuca side that is fighting to qualify for the Clausura playoffs after a 7th-placed finish. To read more about Pachuca's race to reach the playoff, you can read that here.

Goals from Alex Zendejas and Andres Micolta meant that all was to play for on Tuesday night, in front of the Pachuca hopefuls.

In a matchup where Las Aguilas were heavily favourites to reach the final, Miguel Rodriguez and Nelson Deossa gave Pachuca an unbelievable start. In the first 15 minutes of the second leg, Pachuca could not believe what was happening, taking a 2-0 lead so early on in the game.

Former Premier League striker, Salomón Rondón aimed for goal from distance, but his effort was nicely deflected into the path of Rodriguez to caress the ball beyond the on-rushing Luis Malagon, giving Los Truzos the lead. Two minutes later Pachuca would double their lead as Rodriguez raced into the box, playing the ball into the path of Erick Sanchez, whose effort on goal was parried away but into the direction of Deossa to smash his rebound on target.

América responded quickly with Henry Martin in acres of space in the box and was found by a floating ball from Zendejas. Scoring an emphatic header in the 23rd minute, the Liga MX heavyweights had more than an hour to get back into the game.

Julián Quiñones thought he equalised for América just moments before the halftime whistle, but his slotted finish was met with the linesman's flag for offside.

The second halftime seemed to come and go, with América failing to truly apply enough pressure to grab an equaliser. Their hopes truly diminished when Israel Reyes received a second yellow card, after bringing down Deossa who was closing down on goal for Pachuca.

The result means that Pachuca has a chance to win their sixth CONCACAF Champions League, which will be played on Saturday 1st June 2024.

Monterrey's Collapse

In what has been a woeful end of the season for Monterrey, Los Rayados have won just three games from their last nine fixtures, two of which came in the Quarter Final against Lionel Messi's Inter Miami.

In the first leg, the Nuevo Leon side suffered a 2-1 defeat, meaning that all the work needed to be done in their return home leg. Goals from former Watford prodigy Juan 'Cucho' Hernandez and Jacen Russell-Rowe gave Columbus Crew the win as Maximiliano Meza netted for Rayados.

Ahead of the second leg, Monterrey gave themselves a much needed motivation via a 5-2 win over Necaxa.

Things started promosingly for Monterrey, taking an early lead in the 11th minute. Forcing the ball into his own net, Evgen Cheberko levelled the scoring at the Estadio BBVA. A perfectly weighted looped pass from Jorge Rodriguez put Meza in on goal, chipping the keeper. The Argentine was unlucky to see his effort hit the underside of the bar but watched on as the ball bounced off the Columbus defender to give Los Rayados the lifeline they needed.

Despite dominating large parts of the first half, Monterrey gifted the Crew with a chance to take the lead again. Goalkeeper Esteban Andrada rushed and rolled the ball into Luis Romo, Columbus' Aidan Morris pinched the ball and passed the ball into the bottom left corner, beyond Andrada.

Scoring moments before the halftime break, and moments into the second half, Crew stamped their mark on this tie in the 49th minute as Alexandru Matan played Diego Rossi in on goal to slot beyond the 'keeper for a 2-1 lead on the night and 4-2 lead on aggregate.

The nail was put in the coffin moments from time as Russell-Rowe scored his second goal of the tie before Christian Ramirez had his penalty saved by Andrada and Meza, who looked to be a hero earlier in the game, forcing the first goal of the match, faced a straight red card, despite being substituted in the 68th minute. As also told by TUDN.

The result means that Columbus Crew could be the second winner from the United States of the tournament since the year 2000. Potentially following in the footsteps of the Seatle Sounders in 2022, will they be able to get past Pachuca in this year's 2024 CONCACAF Champions League Final?