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.
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.