KENYA BROWN - Monday, January 15, 2018
William Yarbrough and Leon continued their strong start to the Clausura with a win while Joe Corona made his debut for America off the bench in their tie with Pachuca.
Leon 3-1 Toluca
Goals in both halves helped Leon continue their unbeaten start to the Clausura with their win over Toluca at Estadio Leon.
Having made the playoffs in the Apertura and falling in the quarterfinal stage, Los Esmeraldas are looking to improve on their chances of winning the title this time around. Toluca also made the playoffs and fell at the same stage. They would like nothing more than to reach that stage again.
It was back-and-forth at the start of the first half, with Yarbrough called into action to stop a long-range shot from Rodrigo Salinas. He would be there again to make a double save in the 13th minute when Fernando Uribe had a chance from point-blank range, but the American goalkeeper did well to parry the first shot and then stopped Ernesto Vega from putting away the rebound.
The host opened the scoring in the 29th minute when they launched a counter-attack from their own end. Elias Hernandez took a pass from teammate Luis Montes, ran into the area and blasted his shot past Toluca goalkeeper Luis Manuel Garcia.
Entering the second half, Yarbrough was again asked to make another big save. This time he had to parry away a long-range effort from Antonio Rios.
The visitors would have another chance to level the score seconds later and were rewarded in the 54th minute when a scramble in the area saw Rios pounce on the loose ball and put it in the goal. Yarbrough had to accept fault for that goal as he fumbled the ball beforehand.
However, Leon would restore their lead three minutes later when Montes headed in a cross from Hernandez.
Fernando Navarro put the game to bed in the 74th minute when took a pass from Alvaro Ramos and sent a lovely chip over Garcia and into the goal.
The win leaves Leon in second place in the standings with six points.
America 2-2 Pachuca
Victor Guzman scored just before stoppage to help Pachuca steal a point in a thrilling game against America at Estadio Azteca.
Corona, who made the loan move to the capital team in December last year, entered the game in the 61st minute, while Omar Gonzalez and Kekeuta Manneh did not dress for Pachuca.
The host had a chance go up a goal very early in the first half when Robert Herrera brought down Henry Martin in the area. Oribe Peralta stepped up to take the penalty, but Pachuca goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco guessed right and made the save to keep the game scoreless.
The missed penalty did not deter America as they continued to be aggressive in the attack, but they could not find a way to turn their chances into goals.
Peralta would finally find the goal that they were looking for in the 14th minute when Alex Ibarra's cross from the right found the forward at the top of the area and put enough power on his shot to get the ball past Blanco.
Pachuca would find the equalizer minutes into the start of the second half when Oscar Murillo headed in a corner kick from Japanese international Keisuke Honda.
The action was fast and furious as both teams had more chances to add to the score, but they squandered them on the final ball.
However, America would finally retake the lead in the 75th minute when a low cross from Mateus Uribe rolled into the area and Martin would pounce on the ball to blast it past off Blanco and into the back of the net.
It looked like America were on their way to a win, but with the way the game was going there was certainly going to be another goal.
The visitors levelled the score once again in the 89th minute when Sebastian Palacios headed the ball into the path of Guzman and he did enough to allow the ball to roll past America goalkeeper Augustin Marchesin.
A roller coaster of a game in which both teams deserved a point.
The tie leaves America in fourth place in the standings with four points while Pachuca sit in 12th place with one point.
Michael Orozco started and Alejandro Guido came off the bench for Tijuana while Ventura Alvarado watched from the bench for Necaxa as the Los Xolos came away with a 1-0 win.
Lalo Fernandez and Jorge Villafana watched from the bench for their respective teams as Tigres UANL and Santos Laguna shared the points following a 0-0 tie.
Bernabe Magana watched from the bench as Pumas won their second game with a 3-1 win over Atlas.
In Ascenso MX, Diego de la Tejera came off the bench while Rodrigo Lopez watched all the action as Celaya shared the points with Tampico Madero following a 1-1 tie.