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May 4, 2014

Pachuca, Toluca reach semifinals

Enner Valencia scored a hat trick as Pachuca downed Pumas 4-2 on Sunday to advance to the semifinals in Mexico's Clausura playoffs.

Enner Valencia of Pachuca celebrates after scoring on Sunday.
Enner Valencia of Pachuca celebrates after scoring on Sunday.

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Pachuca won the quarterfinals series 5-3 on aggregate and will next face Santos Laguna. Toluca play Leon in the other semifinal.

Valencia turned sharply past a defender and placed a left-footed shot into the corner of the net for his first goal in the 12th minute, and Efrain Velarde equalized four minutes later with a strike from 25 yards.

Valencia tapped in for his second in the 25th minute, with Jose Carlos Van Rankin pulling Pumas back level in the 33rd.

Valencia's third goal came from a free-kick that he curled inside the post, and Hugo Rodriguez extended the lead with a header in the 55th minute.

Toluca defeated Tijuana 3-1 on Sunday, following a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

Miguel Ponce and Edgar Benitez netted one goal each in the final 30 minutes to hand Toluca victory. Antonio Rios had given Toluca the lead in the 32nd minute, before Dario Benedetto equalized for Tijuana in the 49th.

Santos Laguna defeated America 3-1 on Saturday to advance on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw.

Santos' Ribair Rodriguez and Andres Renteria scored in their win, after Carlos Valenzuela of America conceded an own goal.

Leon also went through on away goals after a 2-2 with Cruz Azul on Saturday for a 3-3 aggregate scoreline.

Leon came from two goals behind in a match affected by heavy rain in Mexico City, with Mauro Boselli scoring from close range in the 40th minute and Luis Montes leveling in the 59th with a solo effort. Argentines Mariano Pavone and Mauro Formica scored early for Cruz Azul.

The first legs of the semifinals are scheduled to be played on Wednesday and Thursday, with the return legs on Saturday and Sunday.

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