The projects with a Spanish tinge by Santiago Solari and Javier Aguirre have failed in Mexico. America, from the Argentine, and Monterrey, from the Mexican, have been eliminated from the quarterfinals of Liga MX. The Eagles, in a heroic attempt to come back, fell one goal away to qualify for the semifinals against Pachuca in a hectic series that ended 5-5. The Rayados de Aguirre were kicked out with a goal in the last minute.
América de Solari was one of the best teams during the regular tournament in Mexico. During 17 days they managed to impose an effective style and an overwhelming offensive. They finished second in the standings with 12 wins, two draws and just three losses. One of them was implausible. In a match against Atlas they did not report the inclusion in the squad of Uruguayan Federico Viñas and the Disciplinary Commission took away a victory on the pitch.
In the quarterfinals, Solari, coach of Real Madrid, faced an opponent who suffered to qualify for the final round of the Mexican championship. Pachuca, eighth in the standings, entered the league after winning the playoffs against another favorite, Chivas de Guadalajara (4-2). The Pachuca players managed to get the ticket to the semifinals out of America’s pocket in a couple of bulky goal games. In the first leg, the tuzos won it 3-1 and this Sunday, in an Azteca stadium that received the return of the fans to the stands, they sealed the match 5-5. The regulations gave the pass to Pachuca for away goals in one of the games with the best spectacle in a long time in Mexico. “Success is a search, a journey. Success is the path we walk every day with our effort to achieve excellence. It is the path we are on, ”Solari said at the post-match press conference.
Javier Aguirre left Spain to direct, again, in his country. Two decades after embarking on a career as a coach in Spanish soccer, the Basque was hired by one of the clubs with the highest payroll in all of Latin America, the Rayados de Monterrey. Aguirre moved his team away from the irregularity and managed to classify them in fourth place. His balance was positive with eight wins, four draws and five losses.
But in the league, Aguirre’s Rayados suffered more and despite closing the series at home, they couldn’t do much. In the first leg, Santos Laguna hit first with a 2-1. On the return leg, despite the momentum from Monterrey, the team fell apart and in the final minutes the Mexican youth Ronaldo Prieto thwarted their plans. “Everything he says in moments of defeat would sound like an excuse, there are many qualifiers for defeat,” lamented Aguirre, who was fined for violating health protocols to go to his son’s wedding. For Aguirre as for Solari, the outlook will not be so gray because, thanks to the format of Mexican soccer, they will be able to play the League again the following semester.
The Mexican crown will remain among the winners of the Cruz Azul-Pachuca and Puebla-Santos Laguna semifinals. Cruz Azul, a team that has made winning the League an obsession, is seeking to become League champion again after almost 24 years of not doing so. One of the surprises of the tournament is Puebla, in the center of the country, which has built a solid team of low-profile players.
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