By Dan Price
After the first legs of the quarter finals were played during the week, all four results still hang in the balance. Fans of the league around the country can look forward to a thrilling a dramatic weekend of action.
Club America vs Pachuca (Saturday 16, 6pm ET)
Pachuca won the first leg 3-2, but will still be rueing not walking away with a more commanding win. A 2-0 lead was established inside the first 15 minutes, but from there America did well to stay in touching distance.
Michael Arroyo pulled one back ten minutes before half time, but Ariel Nahuelpan immediately restored Pachuca’s two-goal lead. The defining moment came in the 50th minute, when a sloppy pass from Walter Ayovi allowed Benedetto in to smash in America’s second.
Two away goals, home advantage, and the higher seeding should be enough to see the Mexico City side through. Failure however, would almost certainly leave Gustavo Matosas looking for a new job.
Tigres UANL vs Santos Laguna (Saturday 16th, 8pm ET)
Like America, Tigres were also the beneficiaries of a defensive mix-up in their 1-1 draw with Santos Laguna on Wednesday night.
Javier Orozco gave the hosts a 16th minute lead, but 15 minutes later some poor communication between Santos defenders Nestor Araújo and Carlos Izquierdoz led to them both crashing after going for the same ball – allowing Ecuadorian Joffre Guerron to score the equalizer.
Tigres won seven of their nine home games in the regular season and have to be considered favorites in the second leg, but an unpredictable and improving Santos could easily spring a surprise.
Atlas vs Chivas (Sunday 17th, 7pm ET)
Thursday night’s Clasico Tapatio was the most hyped of the four games but, as is so often the way, turned out to be the biggest disappointment.
The 0-0 draw was devoid of the drama that made their 1-1 league draw one of the best games of the regular season. It took Atlas until midway through the second half to register their first effort, but Chivas also played the dull and defensively-minded game that has become one of the defining characteristics of their season.
The second leg is hard to call. A 0-0 draw will send Atlas through as the higher seed, but an away goal from Chivas would mean the hosts need to score twice. Predict the winner at your peril.
Veracruz vs Queretaro (Sunday 17th, 9pm ET)
This game was the least blockbuster of the four quarter-finals, but in the event was probably the second most entertaining match.
Queretaro emerged as 2-1 winners thanks to a 91st minute goal from Yasser Corona. Veracruz had taken a 29th minute lead, but William equalized ten minutes later before Corona intervened with some late drama.
In truth the result is not a bad one for Veracruz. The away goal means that if they win by a single goal on Sunday they will go through – either by virtue of having a higher seed or on away goals.
Nonetheless, Queretaro suddenly look like a dangerous and well-oiled machine – having won eight
of their last nine games without looking intent to roll over.