Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Soccer [Print without images]

Sunday, November 21, 2010
MEXICO: Pumas stuns top seed Cruz Azul

By Scott French

Cruz Azul's legacy of failure grew deeper Saturday, an indifferent performance -- marred by injury, ejection and a late penalty kick -- leading to the top seed's ouster from Mexico's Primera Division playoffs.

Juan Carlos Cacho converted an 83rd minute penalty kick to complete Pumas UNAM's comeback from defeat in the first leg of the quarterfinals, providing a 2-0 victory for a 3-2 aggregate triumph in a battle of Mexico City giants.

Martin Bravo struck in the second minute for Pumas, which must await Sunday's results to learn its semifinal opponent.

America also advanced to the final four, a 4-1 rout over San Luis at Estadio Azteca to reach the semifinals for the first time since losing to Pachuca in the 2007 Clausura final.

Cruz Azul was seeking its first Mexican title since 1997. La Maquina has lost in the title series in three of the last six tournaments and fallen in the CONCACAF Champions League final the past two seasons.

The Cementeros went 12-2-3 during the Apertura regular season and rallied for a 2-1 win in Wednesday's first leg against Pumas behind Christian Gimenez. But La Maquina could not match their visitors' intensity, fell behind quickly, then watched everything dissolve as captain Gerardo Torrado exited with an injury after 27 minutes and Horacio Cervantes was ejected with his second yellow card just before halftime.

Cruz Azul still had the advantage with aggregate at 2-2 -- the higher seed advances in a draw -- but Nestor Araujo was whistled for a hand ball with seven minutes to go, and Cacho converted to lift Pumas.

America quickly put away San Luis, romping to a 3-0 advantage by halftime on goals by Vicente Sanchez and Enrique Esqueda and an own goal. Matias Vuoso netted his ninth of the season in the 81st minute.

LIGA DE ASCENSO: Club Tijuana has a semifinal date (or two) with seventh-seeded Albinegros de Orizaba after the lowest seeds in the second-tier Liga de Ascenso's playoffs finished off quarterfinal upsets.

Tijuana, which won the regular-season title and received a bye for the quarterfinals, will play at Orizaba -- in Veracruz state, southeast of Mexico City -- in a midweek encounter, then play the second leg next Sunday at Estadio Caliente just south of the border.

Albinegros on Saturday completed a 2-0 upset of second-seeded Indios de Ciudad Juarez, claiming a 1-0 road win on Diego Olsina's second-half goal. Indios' hopes were damaged by red cards to Juan Cubelo in the 47th minute and Oscar Rojas in the 55th.

Sixth-seeded Irapuato also advanced, pulling out a 4-3 aggregate victory over Alacranes de Durango on Oscar Rodriguez's 80th-minute goal.

Eder Pacheco netted his second hat trick of the season -- scoring his 14th, 15th and 16th goals -- as Durango opened 2-0 and 3-1 leads to counter a 2-0 loss in the first leg. A 3-3 aggregate draw would have sent Alacranes to the semifinals.

QUARTERFINALS, SECOND LEG

Saturday

Cruz Azul 0, Pumas UNAM 2 (M. Bravo 2, Cacho pen. 83)

+ Pumas UNAM wins on aggregate, 3-2

America 4 (V. Sanchez 15, og. Matellan 24, E. Esqueda 45, Vuoso 81), San Luis 1 (D. de la Torre 53)

+ America wins on aggregate, 2-1

Sunday

Pachuca at Monterrey, 2 p.m.

Jaguares de Chiapas at Santos Laguna, 4 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS, SECOND LEG

Saturday

Alacranes de Durango 3 (Eder Pacheco 1, 10, 32), Irapuato 2 (J. Lopez 23, O. Rodriguez 80)

+ Irapuato wins on aggregate, 4-3

Indios de Ciudad Juarez 0, Albinegros de Orizaba 1 (Olsina 64)

+ Albinegros de Orizaba wins on aggregate 2-0

Sunday

Veracruz at Lobos BUAP, 3 p.m.

Note: Club Tijuana has bye to semifinals

Semifinal matchups: Club Tijuana vs. Albinegros, Irapuato vs. Veracruz/Lobos BUAP