América scores late to ruin Toluca’s dream start

Richard Sánchez races toward the end line to celebrate his golazo that gave América a 1-0 win over Toluca. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Richard Sánchez races toward the end line to celebrate his golazo that gave América a 1-0 win over Toluca. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Toluca loses America
Toluca defender Andrés Mosquera clears an América cross into the box. Mosquera and his mates were extra busy after going down to 10 men. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images) /

Richard Sánchez’s laser from beyond 30 meters fired América to a last-gasp 1-0 win over 10-man Toluca, giving the Aguilas their first win of the season and knocking the Diablos out of first place.

Ref Adonai Escobedo was a first-half protagonist, showing Toluca captain Claudio Baeza a red card in minute 31 after a rash challenge that likely could have been settled with a yellow card. It was a harsh decision, but Baeza can be blamed for carelessness.

Escobedo made up for the questionable decision by annulling Álvaro Fidalgo’s golazo for a dubious offside call. VAR alerted the beleaguered ref to a potential obstruction on América’s Henry Martín who was in an offside position and ruled to be in Toluca keeper Tiago Volpi’s line of sight.

Still, playing with a man advantage, América dominated the final hour of the match, firing 26 shots while enjoying 61% possession. Unfortunately, only two of the Aguilas’ 26 shots were on target, but Sánchez made up for all the errant efforts with his 93rd-minute rocket.

Toluca plays with 10 men for second game in a row

Toluca came into the game brimming with confidence, holding off defending Liga MX champs Atlas last week despite playing the final 20 minutes of the match a man down. The Diablos eased past Necaxa 3-1 in their season opener.

An offseason roster overhaul had the Red Devils playing a free-flowing attacking style reminiscent of coach Ignacio Ambriz’s pre-pandemic León juggernaut.

“Los Choriceros” scored three goals in each of their first two matches and had a bid to take a 15th-minute lead turned aside by Memo Ochoa. Once Baeza was sent to the locker room, however, Toluca was condemned to staying back and trying to strike off the counter.

Toluca defender Andrés Mosquera – one of eight new Diablos players this season – was particularly solid inside the box, heading crosses clear time-after-time and cutting off passing lanes through the middle.

Ochoa made another splendid save in minute 84, parrying a Raúl López blast from just outside the top left corner of the box.

With time about to expire, the Toluca defense backed off Sánchez a bit too much and the Uruguayan midfielder was able to line up his shot and zip a right-footer into the upper left corner of the net. A genuine golazo.

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The Aguilas now have 4 points from a 1-1-1 record and climbed from 14th place to 6th place with the win. Toluca drops from 1st to 3rd, still even with Puebla and Pachuca on points (6), but behind on goal differential (+2, compared to +3 for the Camoteros and Tuzos).