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Wednesday, November 17, 2010
MEXICO: Cruz Azul's brilliance wins out

By Scott French

Two magical shots by Christian Gimenez has top seed Cruz Azul on target for the Mexican Primera Division semifinals following a 2-1 win over crosstown rival Pumas UNAM in its playoff opener.

America settled for a 0-0 draw at San Luis in Wednesday's other Apertura quarterfinal first leg. Two more series begin Thursday; second legs will be played this weekend.


Gimenez's long-range free kick was deflected by Horacio Cervantes past Pumas goalkeeper Sergio Bernal to pull La Maquina even in the 33rd minute, and his volley from outside the box provided a 73rd-minute lead. Pumas, which dominated play early and went ahead through Dante Lopez in the 19th minute, will need a two-goal victory in Saturday's rematch across Mexico City to move on; higher-seeded teams advance if aggregate is even.

Guillermo Ochoa made three big saves, two on Ignacio Ambriz, and survived a Tressor Moreno blast off the crossbar for America, which has the advantage heading into Saturday's second leg in Mexico City. The fourth-seeded Aguilas were content to sit back and defend as San Luis, which included America Edgar Castillo in its lineup, pressed the issue most of the match.

America and San Luis are sister clubs, both owned by Mexican television giant Televisa.

LIGA DE ASCENSO: The lower-seeded hosts prevailed in both quarterfinal first legs.

Albinegros de Orizaba topped second-seeded Indios de Ciudad Juarez, 1-0, on Juan Manuel Cavallo's 10th goal of the campaign. Cavallo has scored six of seventh-seeded Albinegros last eight goals, dating to Oct. 1.

Sixth-seeded Irapuato swamped third-seeded Alacranes de Durango, 2-0, on second-half goals by Arturo Perez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

QUARTERFINALS, FIRST LEG
Wednesday
San Luis 0, America 0
Pumas UNAM 1 (D. Lopez 19), Cruz Azul 2 (H. Cervantes 33, C. Gimenez 73)
Thursday
Monterrey at Pachuca, 4 p.m.
Santos Laguna at Jaguares de Chiapas, 6 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS, SECOND LEG
Saturday
Pumas UNAM at Cruz Azul, 3 p.m.
San Luis at America, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Pachuca at Monterrey, 2 p.m.
Jaguares de Chiapas at Santos Laguna, 4 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS, FIRST LEG
Wednesday
Albinegros de Orizaba 1 (Cavallo 29), Indios de Ciudad Juarez 0
Irapuato 2 (A. Perez 47, C. Blanco 81), Alacranes de Durango 0
Thursday
Lobos BUAP at Veracruz, 5 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS, SECOND LEG
Saturday
Irapuato at Alacranes de Durango, 5 p.m.
Albinegros de Orizaba at Indios de Ciudad Juarez, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Veracruz at Lobos BUAP, 3 p.m.

Note: Club Tijuana has bye to semifinals