Spanish playmaker eager to erase bitter memory of red card
With less than 30 minutes remaining in the return leg of the Liga MX semifinals between Guadalajara and América, the Aguilas were leading 2-1 on aggregate and seemed poised to add to their cushion.
That’s when Álvaro Fidalgo decided to go for a steal in midfield. Just as the 26-year-old Spaniard lunged – recklessly as it turned out – Fernando Beltrán shielded the América midfielder from the ball and took the brunt of the tackle half-way up his left leg.
Ref Víctor Cáceres immediately pulled out a yellow card and pointed at Fidalgo. Moments later, however, VAR asked the official to take a closer and replay made it clear that the rash challenge deserved a red card.
The distraught Fidalgo trudged to the locker room and the momentum quickly changed, with the field tilting dramatically in favor of the Chivas.
Twelve minutes later, Alan Mozo put Guadalajara ahead 2-1 though the 2-2 aggregate scoreline still favored América. Another 12 minutes later and Guadalajara defender Jesús Orozco found the back of the net, sending the Chivas to the Liga MX final (where they would lose to Tigres).
Asked about the expulsion this week, Fidalgo said he had trouble sleeping for a week afterward, only able to shake off the dolefulness somewhat when Tigres defeated the Chivas in the final.
Had Guadalajara emerged victorious, “El Rebaño Sagrado” would have equaled América’s Liga MX-record 13 championships, an outcome that “would have destroyed me,” the Spaniard admitted.