WOODY BAUM - Sunday, May 9, 2010
Jose Francisco Torres and Pachuca beat Monterrey on the road to continue their run to the next round of the Mexican liguilla.
On Saturday, Torres made good on his promise as they defeated the defending champions to advance to the semifinals of the liguilla.
The native Texan had publicly said before the match that Pachuca wouldn't visit Monterrey and just try to defend their lead.
From the start, Pachuca took the initiative, controlling possession and dictating the pace of the game. Monterrey, despite the heavy support from the crowd, looked out of place and was unable to string together any sort of offense.
After the 20th minute, Monterrey seemed to have found their rhythm and the game appeared to be more equal.
It was Monterrey who stuck first in the 32nd, when a turnover by Torres led to a well executed counter attack and ended up with Osvaldo Martinez receiving the ball in the area with only the keeper to beat.
He lofted the ball over the keeper to give Monterrey the lead and the overall lead in the series.
However the lead didn't last long as Pachuca came out strong in the second half.
In the 47th minute, Edy Brambila scored a header off a corner kick, after Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco misjudged the corner leaving the goal wide open. With the tie, Pachuca had the lead in the overall aggregate score.
It looked as if Pachuca's lead would not last and that Monterrey would once again regain the momentum when David Munoz Mustafa delivered an ill advised tackle in the area which led to a penalty.
Martinez took the penalty kick, but second string goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota made an excellent save to keep Pachuca's liguilla hopes alive.
After saving the penalty, Pachuca wasted no time trying to increase their lead and constantly threatened Jonathan Orozco.
Pachuca's swarming defense led to dangerous and careless mistakes by Monterrey, including a steal by Torres from outside the area that almost led to another goal for Pachuca.
Pachuca continued to apply pressure in the second half, not content to sit back, and would eventually score a second goal in the 87th minute when Luis Montes shot past Jonathan Orozco from inside the area.
The second goal was the nail in the coffin for Monterrey and the victory ensured Pachuca's passage to the semifinals.
It was an excellent game with various momentum swings as both sides created chances but it was Pachuca who gradually played stronger as the game continued to ensure the victory in Monterrey, a place where Monterrey hadn't lost in 15 games.
With the victory, Pachuca extends their impressive run of late, after having miraculously qualified for the liguilla in the final game.