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 By Tom Marshall

Pumas beats Veracruz, Toluca tops Puebla to make Apertura semifinals

Fidel Martinez Pumas
Fidel Martinez celebrates after scoring the winner versus Veracruz to help his team advance to the Liga MX semifinals.

Regular-season league leader Pumas defeated Veracruz 1-0 on Sunday and advanced to the Liga MX Apertura 2015 semifinals.

Fidel Martinez netted the only goal of the match in the ninth minute, tapping in Ismael Sosa's well-placed cross from close range.

Pumas lost the quarterfinal first leg 1-0 last Thursday but will advance because they finished higher in the regular season with Veracruz qualifying in eighth position.

Pumas UNAMPumas UNAM
VeracruzVeracruz
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0
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Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
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Both Veracruz and Pumas had good chances to score, and TV replays showed each side should've earned a penalty.

An away goal for Veracruz would've meant Pumas needed to win by two goals to advance, making for a nervous and edgy game.

The first chance of the match fell to Veracruz, when Julio Furch drove past Dario Veron and crossed for Fernando Meneses, who couldn't manage to finish in the fifth minute.

Furch had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 52nd from a header, but Veracruz seemed to tire after that and Pumas looked the most likely to score late.

Martinez hit the woodwork for Pumas in the 64th and Gerardo Alcoba smacked it as well in the 78th, while Veracruz goalkeeper Meliton Hernandez made a couple of flying saves to keep the score down.


Fernando Uribe netted late to hand Toluca a 1-0 victory against Puebla on Sunday and secure the final place in the Liga MX Apertura semifinals.

Toluca will now play Tigres in one semifinal, while Pumas will face bitter Mexico City rival Club America in the other.

Puebla needed to win to go through after the 2-2 draw in last Thursday's first leg and was plucky in defeat against Toluca.

La Franja had a total of 23 shots (nine on target) and had more possession than Toluca, but Uribe was put through on goal by Oscar Rojas in the 83rd minute and duly finished to end Puebla's hopes of a title.

Mexico international Carlos Esquivel went closest for Toluca before that when he struck a free kick against the crossbar in the 74th minute.

Puebla had peppered Toluca's goal, but center-backs Paulo da Silva and Aaron held strong with goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera also on form.

Tigres overcame Chiapas and America got past Leon in the other quarterfinals on Saturday.

The first semifinal legs will be played midweek, with the deciding return games next weekend. The times and dates will be confirmed by the Liga MX on Monday.

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