Cuauhtemoc Blanco helped pull Club America out of a huge hole in an entertaining Mexican league quarterfinal second leg match yesterday. If you missed it you missed a game every bit as entertaining as the Manchester United/Chelsea game.
Up 3-1 on aggregate going into the match Atlas scored three unanswered goals through Andres Guardado’s (you remember this young talent in the World Cup or Mexico) long range bomb in the 14th minute, Daniel Osorno’s 26th minute snap header and a goal from M. Perez in the 56th minute to take the aggregate lead 4-3.
Domintating the match for 65 minutes wouldn’t cut it for Atlas.
Enter the unpredictable Blanco in the second half off the bench and in the 70th minute he created space to his left at the top of the box and scored to level the aggregate.
His back heel to Salvador Cabanas played a part in the aggregate tie-breaking goal only 4 minutes later. Jose Antonio Castro would add a late goal and ‘the Aguilas” have now advanced 6-4 on aggregate in dramatic fashion.
Blanco played the hero. Club America will play Chivas in the much anticipated semi-final dubbed the “Super Classico’ while Toluca will battle Pachuca in the other semi-final.
All group leaders during the regular season were eliminated. Cruz Azul (group 1), Monterrey (group 2) and Unam Pumas (group 3) all proved that regular season success doesn’t translate into playoff success. Hey where have we heard that before?
Open play, teams that play to attack first, and naive defending all lead to entertaining playoffs in Mexico.