Cruz Azul 1-1 América (May 23, 2024) Match Analysis

Mexico international Julián Quiñones’ first-half equalizer secured a 1-1 away draw for Club America against Cruz Azul in the first leg of the Liga MX final.

Thursday’s match, which took place at Cruz Azul’s packed Estadio Ciudad de los Deportes, started with a sixth-minute penalty in favor of the home side after Uriel Antuna was fouled in the surface by American goalkeeper Luis Malagón.

With a chance to score his first playoff goal in the current Clausura season, Antuna came forward and slotted the ball past Malagon in the ninth minute.

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With little time to celebrate, the large Cruz Azul crowd then saw the visitors react quickly. Following a throw-in from United States men’s national winger Alejandro Zendejas, American forward Henry Martín delivered a cross to Quiñones, who made it 1-1 after finding the back of the net at the 16th minute.

Despite Cruz Azul stepping up the pressure with six shots in total in the first half, compared to the lone American shot, both teams headed to their locker rooms with the score 1-1 at the half-time whistle. -time.

Eager to make an impact from the break, America embarked on a more vertical and decisive approach in the 2nd half. In the 66th minute, the defending champions were meters away from scoring again after Cruz Azul defender Willer Ditta was forced to clear near the goal line, stopping another Quiñones chance.

Although tactical substitutions from both sides added more chances in each’s final third, the 1-1 scoreline was ultimately cemented at the final whistle.

On Sunday, the second leg of the Liga MX final will be played at the Estadio Azteca in the United States.

As Cruz Azul seeks its 10th title – which would place it third on the all-time list alongside Toluca – America will look to extend its championship record to 15.

Sunday’s match will be America’s last at Estadio Azteca until further stadium renovations are finalized ahead of the 2026 World Cup.

Ahead of the first leg of the final on Thursday, Club America president Santiago Baños opened the door to the possibility of league matches being played across Mexico and in the United States while the Estadio Azteca is not available.

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