América vs Cruz Azul: Liga MX 2024 Clausura Final First Leg Ends in Draw

América vs Cruz Azul first leg final

Mexico City — With a goal from Julián Quiñones, América secured a 1-1 draw against Cruz Azul in the first leg of the Clausura tournament final on Thursday.

Uriel Antuna scored first for Cruz Azul with a penalty at eight minutes, but Quiñones, a Colombian-born naturalized Mexican, equalized at 16 minutes.

Antuna, a top scorer in the regular season, reached nine goals in the Clausura.

“Not losing is crucial in a final. We showed mental strength coming from behind,” said América’s coach André Jardine. “We had clear chances but leave without an advantage. Playing at home will be key.”

The return match is scheduled for Sunday night at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Unlike earlier rounds, the final must be decided on the field, whether in regular time, extra time, or penalties.

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América aims to become the fourth team to win back-to-back championships since 1996, joining Pumas, León, and Atlas. They seek their 15th title to solidify their status as the most successful team in Mexico, surpassing Chivas’ 12 titles.

“We showed resilience and maturity. We’re ready for the battle on Sunday,” said Quiñones.

Cruz Azul seeks its 10th title, the first since Clausura 2021.

“Except for a few key moments, we controlled the match,” said Cruz Azul’s coach Martín Anselmi. “We’ll make adjustments for the return leg to surprise them at their home.”

Cruz Azul took the lead when goalkeeper Luis Malagón fouled Antuna inside the area, resulting in a penalty. Antuna converted with a shot to the left post.

América equalized shortly after when Henry Martín set up Quiñones for a close-range finish.

Cruz Azul threatened again in the 38th minute with a shot from Rodrigo Huescas, but Malagón made the save. América almost took the lead in the 46th minute with a shot from Martín, but goalkeeper Kevin Mier deflected it.

América had another chance in the 66th minute when Quiñones’ shot was deflected over the goal line by defender Willer Ditta.

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