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Soccer-Sanchez's Mexican title dream ends after Pumas lose

12/7/2003 - Soccer

MEXICO CITY, Dec 7 - Former Real Madrid and Mexico
striker Hugo Sanchez was denied the chance to win the first
trophy of his coaching career at the weekend when his UNAM team
were knocked out of the Mexican championship by Toluca.

Sanchez's team, nicknamed the Pumas, were favourites to win
their quarter-final tie after holding on for a 2-2 draw away in
the first leg last Wednesday but appeared to freeze as they
slumped to a 2-0 home defeat.

Toluca defender Salvador Carmona silenced the 60,000 crowd
by drilling in a rebound following a corner in the 32nd minute.

Pumas's challenge collapsed in the 53rd minute when Gerardo
Galindo was sent off for a second bookable offence after fouling
Vicente Sanchez and Israel Lopez fired home from the free kick.

The defeat was a bitter blow for the outspoken Sanchez,
whose team had the second-best record in the league stage of the
championship.

Last week, Sanchez said he needed a title to survive just as
he needed to score goals during his playing days.

UNL, Pachuca and Atlante joined Toluca in the semi-finals.

UNL, coached by Argentina's 1986 World Cup winning
goalkeeper Nery Pumpido, qualified despite losing 2-1 at home to
Cruz Azul.

The tie finished 2-2 but the Tigers went through on having
the better record in the league stage, when the 20 teams play
each other once.

Andres Silvera gave the Tigers an early lead but the Cement
Mixers hit back with goals by Argentina pair Marcelo Delgado and
Cesar Delgado.

"We didn't want to go through this way but the most
important thing was to qualify," said Tigers defender Javier
Saavedra.

Pachuca lost 2-1 at home to Necaxa but qualified 4-3 on
aggregate while Atlante held on for a 2-2 draw at Santos Laguna
despite having midfielder Edgar Solano sent off after only eight
minutes for treading on an opponent.

Atlante won 5-3 on aggregate.