Chivas score twice late to knock out 2nd-seeded América, advance to Liga MX final

Chivas defender Luis Orozco (left) congratulates Alan Mozo (center) after the latter scored Guadalajara's second goal. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Chivas defender Luis Orozco (left) congratulates Alan Mozo (center) after the latter scored Guadalajara's second goal. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /
Chivas swat Aguilas
Ronaldo Cisneros (center) rounds América goalie Luis Malagón as defender Sebastián Cáceres tries to cut him off. The Guadalajara forward knocked the ball into the net to give his team a 1-0 lead in minute 19. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Rematch of Clausura 2017 final on tap

The Chivas scored twice after minute 75 to ground the Aguilas 3-1 and advance to their ninth Liga MX finals appearance.

The “Super Clásico” semifinal turned on a minute 64 red card against América midfielder Álvaro Fidalgo.

The reckless foul came just 7 minutes after a Diego Valdés goal had put the second-seeded Aguilas up 2-1 on aggregate. América won the first leg in Guadalajara 1-0.

Valdés helped in the build-up on his goal, then dashed into the box, cutting in front of Víctor Guzmán and heading a Fidalgo cross inside the back post.

Chivas come storming back

América, down to 10 men, lost control of a game it had in hand. The Aguilas had enjoyed 60% possession until Fidalgo was ejected, but they would spend the next half hour scrambling vainly after the frisky Chivas.

Guadalajara thought it had pulled even just 5 minutes later, but a Ronald Cisneros header was overturned after a lengthy VAR review.

The Chivas quickly overcame the disappointment (it was a chintzy foul call) with a perfectly executed set piece.

In minute 76, Roberto Alvarado stood astride a free kick above the corner of the box to right of goal. Instead of driving a hard cross toward the net, “El Piojo” squared firmly across the top of the box to Alan Mozo who drilled a low shot from inside the half-moon to make it 2-2 on aggregate.

The assist was Alvarado’s second on the night as the El Tri winger also supplied the helper on Ronald Cisneros’ opener in minute 19.

Guadalajara had lost 8 of previous 11 playoff ‘Super Clásicos’

Despite the 2-1 lead on the night at a rainy Estadio Azteca, “El Rebaño Sagrado” still needed another goal. As the lower-seeded team, Guadalajara had to outscore América to advance to the final. An aggregate draw would go to the Aguilas for their better regular-season record.

No sweat. The Chivas were relentless, flowing forward in waves against the short-handed Aguilas. Isaac Brizuela thumped a volley just wide of the far post in minute 83; Alejandro Mayorga cut inside Emilio Lara to bang a header right at América goalie Luis Malagón.

Then the magic happened. Another red-and-white rush forward, Fernando Beltrán with possession – and space – on the right flank. “El Nene” lofted a pinpoint-perfect centering pass that a leaping Luis Orozco Chiquete hammered home from just outside the 6-yard box.

An overjoyed Chivas Nation was in full throat, but first their heroes had to close out the win. And ref Víctor Cáceres added 9 minutes of stoppage time.

With the man advantage, Guadalajara did not allow América to carry forward comfortably and when the Chivas regained possession, they played effective keep away.

The 3-2 aggregate win earns Veljko Paunovic’s men a date against No. 7 seed Tigres. These two franchises met six years ago with the exact same seedings – third-seeded Guadalajara defeated the seventh-seeded Tigres 4-3 on aggregate.

Next. Red-hot Córdova leads Tigres to Liga MX final. dark

The Clausura 2023 final kicks off on Thursday night at “El Volcán” with the return match on Sunday at Estadio Akron, home of the Chivas.