Los Angeles Soccer: Sergio Bernal

MEXICO: Cruz Azul's brilliance wins out

November, 17, 2010
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.

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