MEXICO CITY -- The meeting between America and Cruz Azul was hailed as a true Clasico, with goals, passion, controversy and war. "La Maquina" bounced back from a defeat last week to record a 2-1 win against America, who paid tribute to Mexico's national team with their green uniform.
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Mauro Formica and Julio Cesar Dominguez pushed Cruz Azul manager Luis Fernando Tena's team ahead, before Raul Jimenez closed the gap in the closing stages of the game putting the visitors’ win at risk. America hoped for a repeat of last year's final, when goalkeeper Moises Munoz was hailed as a hero, but this time the story wasn't the same, for "Moi" headed the corner kick just wide of the post.
The Hero: Mauro Formica. The Argentine broke clear in 18 minutes and scored from a corner with an unorthodox technique past Munoz.
The Villain: Andres Andrade. America's Colombian lost his head in the 68th minute and collected two yellow cards in six minutes, putting his team on the back foot.
America: Manager Antonio Mohamed has demonstrated that the team is beginning to go beyond the traditional back-five used by Miguel Herrera, and after half-time, the home team began to create more goal scoring opportunities with the new approach.
The back-line lacked focus, especially their captain Aquivaldo Mosquera, who after only three minutes elbowed Mariano Pavone. However, the action apparently went unnoticed by the referee Fernando Guerrero, for he didn't pull out any cards. The South American hit Pavone two more times and it wasn't until his fourth foul that he saw the yellow card.
Cruz Azul: Superior to their rival. Although America started the game well, the visiting team found the right balance and with the participation of Marco Fabian managed to beat America, who came into the match on the back of a 4-0 win in the "Clasico Nacional" against Chivas.
Fabian was involved in two decisive moves inside the area, the first at the 31st minute when he had sight of the goal, but the ball was deflected by the back-line, and the second when he collected a square ball by Joao Rojas. But Fabian lost the one-on-one to goalkeeper Munoz, who deflected the ball with his face for a corner. This was in addition to creating the second goal by taking a free kick in the 43rd minute that was left open for Julio Cesar Dominguez, who executed a glancing header to overcome the goalkeeper.
The result:: Cruz Azul became the first team to qualify for the playoffs of the Clausura 2014.
Upcoming fixtures: "La Maquina" will play the second leg of the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League against Tijuana on Wednesday, while the Aguilas will visit the Cuauhtemoc Stadium for match-day 15 against Puebla.