América clinched the No. 1 seed with a 2-1 victory at Puebla, while up at the border FC Juárez kept alive its chances of making the Liga MX playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a 3-1 win over UNAM.
Jesús Dueñas got the Bravos off to a quick start with a low, sharp-angled shot in minute 4. The visiting Pumas tied it up just after the half-hour mark but Gabriel Fernández but FC Juárez back in front in minute 41. Alan Medina assisted on both goals, then added the clincher in minute 90+6.
Bravos goalie Alfredo Talavera tormented his former team despite being under siege much of the match. UNAM fired off 26 shots, but “Tala” stood tall between the pipes, making seven big saves.
The win lifts Juárez momentarily into 11th place with 19 points, but to qualify for the Liga MX playoffs, at least two of the following three outcomes must occur: a Necaxa loss at 17th place Atlas; an Atlético de San Luis loss or draw vs Tigres; a Mazatlán FC loss or draw at fourth place Santos Laguna.
Liga MX leaders streak into postseason
Top-seeded América will enter the Liga MX playoffs on a 12-game unbeaten streak (11-1-0) during which the Aguilas have scored 33 goals.
Fernando Ortiz and crew will sit at home next weekend and watch the wildcard round to see who they’ll face in the quarterfinals. As the No. 1 seed, América will face the lowest seed to survive Liga MX Wildcard Weekend.
Roger Martínez and Álvaro Fidalgo provided the scoring for the Aguilas against a feisty Puebla side and the two goals boosted the team’s tally to 38, tying the club record for the most ever in a short season.
Back in the Clausura 2005, “los Azulcremas” also scored 38 times and that team went on to win the Liga MX title and the Champions Cup.
América started out strong against “La Franja” on Friday night, pressing forward effectively throughout the first quarter-hour.
In minute 13, Martínez stood with his back to the goal deep down the right flank before shedding his marker with a quick spin move. As he approached the box, he flicked a shot that soared over Antony Silva’s head before nestling into the netting just inside the back post.
The golazo stunned the Estadio Cuauhtémoc crowd momentarily before the sizable América contingent in the stands let out a roar. A Goal of the Year contender, the shot was so dazzling that Álvaro Fidalgo, closing in on the back post, raised his hands to his head in disbelief as the ball rippled the net.
Fidalgo appeared to put the game to bed in minute 90 when he collected a rebound to the left of goal, then sidestepped two Camoteros defenders before slotting home inside the short-side post.
Israel Reyes got a header past Memo Ochoa in minute 90+4, but it was too little too late and now Puebla must wait to see where they end up in the wildcard seeding. Nicolás Larcamón’s team currently sits in eighth, but could drop to ninth depending on what happens with León (vs Tijuana) and Cruz Azul (vs Guadalajara).