Mexican Wrap

Impetus’ Jorge Ceron rounds up all the latest action from the Quarter-Finals of Mexico’s top flight play-offs (12/5/22).

Above: Chivas fans gather at the University Olympic for the first leg of their quarter-final against UNAM Pumas. Photo: @rojiblancas_nal.

The semi finalists of Mexican women’s soccer are known. Monterrey, Chivas, and Tigres as expected progressed into the next round. Pachuca joined them with a shock elimination of one of the favourites. 

Rayadas Monterrey (1) vs Xolos Women (8)

Tijuana, the place where the country begins, was the venue for one of the first legs of the quarter-finals.

It was a fascinating battle as Xolas ended the undefeated run of Rayadas on matchday 12 of the regular season, the only defeat in the entire season for Monterrey.

Despite the 22-point difference in the end of season table, an even and tough two games was expected, and in the first leg it was somewhat fulfilled. Both teams came out without offering their best football, and in a bland game, Rayadas were leading until the 81st minute , with a goal by Aylin Aviléz (runner-up with Mexico in the U-17 World Cup Uruguay 2018). There needs to be a special mention for Mónica Monsiváis, scorer for Rayadas, and the top scorer of the women’s MX League entered until the second half, Alejandra Caderón was sent-off.  

The second leg was at BBVA Bancomer. Xolas, with the requirement of winning by two goals and become the first team to do so in the MX league, entered with everything from the first minute, unfortunately for them, from the 24th minute Christina Bukenroad put Monterrey in front which left almost everything resolved, one more goal from Rebeca Bernal, a defender with more than 35 goals in her career in just over 150 games for which she is nicknamed the Mexican Beckenbauer, ensured that her team made the semifinals. An own goal Costa Rican Valeria del Campo put the Xolas on the scoreboard, but it was too late. Aggregate result: Monterrey 3-1 Tijuana.

Photo: Defender Rebeca Bernal celebrating Rayadas’ second goal in the second leg. Photo: @Rayadas

Chivas de Guadalajara (2) vs. UNAM Pumas (7)

This was a long-awaited clash between the undefeated Chivas, and the Pumas who got their place in the play-offs at the last minute. The first leg was at the fantastic Olympic University in Mexico City, and there was an invasion by the Chivas fans. that occupied three-quarters of the stadium, so visitors in theory, but in practice they were locals in the stands.

This was a great game, and despite the torrential rain that was present in the second half, the match never suffered. Chivas was in front twice, from a penalty, the scorer Alicia Cervantes scored first for Chivas, and it seemed like a quiet afternoon for the rojiblancas, but the American Aerial Chavarin was responsible for scoring twice. Susan Bejarano made a great goal that had put the visiting team ahead, the second goal for the Pumas was an error between defence and goalkeeper. The first leg was a total party on the field and in the stands that not even the rain could stop. It was 2-2 at the end, and they left everything to be decided for the return game.

In Guadalajara, the game was decided. Pumas needed to win to advance, and made their followers dream, as they went ahead after five minutes. Liliana Rodriguez scored for the students. With 33 minutes gone, Pumas got a second through Aerial Chavarin. Chavarin only scored two goals in the whole of the regular season, and in these two games, she had already beaten that with three. Guadalajara was already against the wall. Central defender Michelle Gonzalez approached. Already, the second half was being dominated by the hosts. With 54 minutes played, Carolina Jaramillo was responsible for tying the game and thus supplying passage to the semifinals. Alicia Cervantes made the final score 3-2 for Chivas. Aggregate result: Chivas 5-4 Pumas.

Above: Lizbeth Ovalle, Tigres UANL’s record holding goalscorer. Photo: 90Min.

Tigres UANL (3) vs. Atlas (6)

What can we say about the first leg in which Tigres travelled to Atlas and crushed the red and blacks 7-0? Well, it was an excellent game by the Tigres, I would say perfect, and it totally left the tie in their favour. Nancy Antonio and Lizbeth Ovalle played their 42nd game in finals, and they are the players with the most games in finals football ever. Ovalle scored a couple of goals, to add to her record of scoring the most in finals football with 16. Sandra Mayor also scored two which extended her record in finals at 13 goals in 18 games. Mia Fishel, Uchenna Kanu, and a great goal from Lydia Rangel left the final figures at 7-0. The return game in Nuevo León saw Atlas take the lead with a goal from Claudia Ibarra, but a couple of goals from the American Mia Fishel sealed victory and the tie for the locals. Aggregate result: Global Tigres UANL 9-1 Atlas.

América (4) vs. Pachuca (5)

Perhaps the most even tie of all, both teams being the favourites to dethrone the teams from Nuevo León. In the first leg game in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Charlyn Corral (Lmade the first for the locals. The American star Katty Martinez equalized for the azulcremas. At the start of the second half, Lizbeth Ángeles made it 2-1 and the score did not change. During the match, Scarlett Camberos lost her head and subsequently was banned for a match. This meant that an important piece of the America team would not play the return game.

The second leg took place in the majestic Azteca Stadium which registered its highest attendance for a game in the women’s MX league with 15,742 spectators. América knew that any win would see them advance to the semifinals. However, a great strategy from Pachuca from start to finish put them 2-0 up with a great goal from Charlyn Corral. America closed the gap with a goal from Daniela Espinoza, but it was too late, at the end of the match Katty Martinez missed a penalty for America and the dice were cast. At the end of the game, Craig Harrington, America’s English manager, was fired from his post. Sarah Luebbert, one of the favourite players of the American fans, also said goodbye. She is going to play in the American league with the Chicago Red Stars. Aggregate result: Global America 2-4 Pachuca.

Above: Sarah Luebbert idol of the América fans cries when saying goodbye in her last game in the women’s MX League. Photo: @Odiamemas1916

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