Football

Club America crowned Clausura champions

Moises Munoz played a starring role (©GettyImages)
Moises Munoz played a starring role (©GettyImages).

Club America goalkeeper Moises Munoz was the hero as he scored the dramatic late equaliser to send the second leg into extra time, and then saved the first Cruz Azul penalty as America stole the Liga MX crown despite being down to ten men.

Teofilo Gutierrez increased the size of the task for America with the opener on the night for Azul which gave them a two goal lead on aggregate. Jesus Molina was also dismissed early on which made it an uphill battle for the hosts.

But after Aquivaldo Mosquera’s 89th-minute goal had given them a glimmer of hope, Munoz sent the capacity crowd into hysteria with the last minute equaliser. After a goalless extra time period Miguel Layun converted the fourth successful penalty to give America the title.

Christian Giménez’s 19th-minute goal in the first leg sent Cruz Azul into the Laguilla second leg with a slight advantage over America, although the home side knew they would be backed by a capacity crowd at Estadio Azteca.

Things did not go according to plan in the early stages though, as Jesus Molina received a straight red card, leaving the home side to play over three quarters of the match with ten men. Gutierrez broke the deadlock to silence the home faithful as the visitors extended their aggregate lead to two.

After fluffing their lines on numerous occasions throughout both halves, Azul were made to pay late on as Mosquera pulled a goal back in the last minute of normal time. The scene was set for Munoz as he ventured forward in one final flurry and as the ball came off of his diving head and rippled the net, the Azteca went wild in celebration.

A goalless extra-time period ensued, as both teams battled with tired legs but America held on despite their numerical deficit and the tie went to penalties.

Javier Orozco, normally so reliable for Cruz Azul, saw his first spot kick saved by the hero Munoz as Raul Jimenez gave America the lead. Alejandro Castro slipped and saw his effort sail over the crossbar allowing Christian Benitez to give the hosts’ a 2-0 advantage.

Despite Rogelio Chavez and Gerardo Flores converting their kicks for Cruz Azul, Osvaldo Martinez and then Layun maintained their cool as America boasted a perfect penalty record to win 4-2 which saw them crowned Liga MX champions.

 

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