Pumas and Atlas, against the forecasts, are still alive

The Pumas were once again the protagonists of a heroic feat and surprised the super leader, America, to enter the semifinal phase, where they will be measured against Atlas, which returns to this instance for the first time since 2004. The two most valuable lists of the contest, Striped and America, suffered a new setback that exposes their need to adjust in the final phases, as they have not advanced beyond the quarters since the Apertura 2019, before the reclassification was established, when both were finalists.

Visiting the Azteca Stadium, Pumas, the eleventh-ranked team after the regular phase, beat América 3-1, the leader of the competition for more than 10 weeks. With two goals from Washington Corozo and one from Higor Meritao, all with assists from Alan Mozo, the Auriazules advanced to the semifinals of the Grita México A21 tournament of the MX League.

Much pride and self-esteem of the team, which is what they have been holding in the year and three months that we are together. I think that tactically we were right in the development of the game and with the one to zero (against) nobody lost their cool, it had become very difficult for us because of the rival’s hierarchy and we were able to move forward once more. This group of players does very worthy things for this institution and the club gives me this possibility and I try to make the most of it ”, expressed the technical director of the Pumas, Andrés Lillini, in the conference after the victory.

This is the second time in three seasons they have reached this stage, both under Lillini. In the 2020 Apertura the felines reached the final at the cost of tracing a score 4-0 against Blue Cross. This time they are 180 minutes from the final after an irregular tournament, in which they adjusted their course from date 13, since they had previously hovered the last places in the classification.

For his part, in the age of the coach Santiago SolariAmerica has already added three defeats that weigh in the hierarchy of one of the most valuable teams in Mexican soccer. Despite being among the top two places in the regular tournament in the last two seasons (the latter as a super leader), he was eliminated in the quarterfinals against Pachuca in the Clausura 2021 (Tuzos was eighth in the general classification); he lost the final of the Concachampions against Monterrey and this time, with a not very offensive approach, he fell with one of the last seeds in the reclassification and with a squad three times less valuable.

“It is a unique tournament, as this fantastic country is, and it has these two phases, one of regularity, which is long and we have done it with a note and I want to emphasize that for the players; and then you have this other phase where this new tournament starts and everything is equalized. We are left to duty in this phase and we have to think, do self-criticism and analyze how we can do to be so good throughout the year and to also be able to give in this other part what the fans expect and what we expect of ourselves, “he said. Solari after the fall to Pumas.

Rival of Pumas in the semifinals is Atlas, who drew 1-1 against Striped in the second leg at the Jalisco stadium and that allowed them to advance through their position in the table, as they finished the regular tournament only behind América. The Guadalajara team will return to a semifinal for the first time in 17 years and it will be only the ninth in its history.

There were few dangerous arrivals by both teams, just one shot on goal for Atlas and two for Rayados. A controversial penalty marking, converted by Julio Furch, put the rojinegros in front, although Alfonso González discounted at 73.

“To be able to leave out a rival like Monterrey, you had to run the 180 minutes with a tactical intensity and very high quality of players, he has a technician with a lot of hierarchy and we do not let them, we always seek to press high, look for the rival goal, arrive to goal, “said Diego Cocca, Atlas technical director and former red-black player. Before the Argentine coach, the team had sought with 22 different coaches to advance beyond the quarterfinals without success, it was the team with the longest streak without semifinals in the MX League.

“You have to understand that this is a club that we are forming and that we are not used to this kind of game and last semester with Puebla we had neither the personality nor the attitude that we had in today’s 180 minutes (…) I have to improve many things, keep growing, have more goal situations, more football, more game, but I can’t ask my players for anything else, I’m sure that along this path we will continue to find the perfect team, “added the red-black coach. .

The last time the Rayados were crowned was in the Opening 2019For the next full tournament, the Apertura 2020, the team then led by Antonio Mohamed was eliminated in the playoff phase against Puebla, a team that accumulated years fighting against relegation and a team among the least valuable in the tournament.

This brought the need to sign Javier Aguirre on the bench, making him the highest paid coach in the tournament, however, his effectiveness with Rayados has been 54% during 2021 and they have been eliminated in the quarterfinals in the last two tournaments.

“They had that play in the area that is not worth commenting on and we are out, that’s the way it is. It hurts us because in 180 minutes they weren’t superior, but I understand the regulations and the rules are given for everyone equally ”, expressed Javier Aguirre at the end of the match against Atlas.

The Foxes will face the Pumas in the semifinal phase. Goals and figures noted that Atlas and Pumas They will be rivals for the third time in the league, although the previous two won the University and were champion.



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