Pumas and Cruz Azul advance to the Apertura semifinals

MEXICO CITY (AP) – An austere goalless draw on Sunday was enough for Pumas to knock Pachuca off the road and advance to the semifinals of the Mexico Apertura tournament.

The university students were dominated at home, especially in the first half, but the 1-0 lead achieved in the first leg was enough to join León and Chivas in the next round.

León will face Guadalajara in one of the semifinals and Pumas will measure forces against Cruz Azul.

The first leg matches would be Wednesday and Thursday, and the return matches Saturday and Sunday. Official times and dates will be announced on Monday.

Pumas return to the top four round for the first time since Apertura 2018, when they lost to América.

“We suffer more than necessary, I do not like to end a game in this way,” said the Argentine coach of Pumas, Andrés Lillini. “Although it is a pass to the semifinals that leaves the club where it should be, we need to play better because there are two extremely complicated games coming ”.

Seconds in the regular tournament, the university students seek to break a title drought that dates back to the Clausura 2011 tournament, when they lifted the seventh crown in their history.

This is a surprising tournament for a team that was left without a coach two days before the tournament started due to the resignation of Spanish Míchel González. Lillini, in charge of his inferior forces, took the reins.

“We are in an incredible moment, these players brought us here and we are not going to give up what we do,” said Lillini. “We are among the best four in the tournament, but we are not conformists and we are going to seek the final and we are going to try to win it under all possible circumstances. I am convinced that we are going to play the final ”.

Pachuca was better in the first half, in which he generated clear goals that Chilean striker Víctor Dávila could not capitalize on. The first was at three minutes, with an attempt deflected by goalkeeper Julio González.

Davila had three other chances, including a shot that crashed into a post.

It was until 44 minutes that Pumas fired his first shot on goal. Argentina’s Juan Dinenno’s shot inside the area was hastily deflected by his compatriot Oscar Ustari.

The university students gave one more warning with an attempt by Paraguayan Carlos González, rejected by Ustari at 49.

In the second half, Pumas straightened the game against some Tuzos who lost control of the midfield, but they continued to insist on trying to discount. The closest came five minutes from the end, with an attempt by Bryan González that went over the goal.

Later, at the Azteca stadium in the capital, with a goal by Colombian Luis Quiñones in the final minutes, Tigres achieved a sterile 1-0 victory over Cruz Azul, which despite the result qualified for the semifinals with a combined score of 3-2.

Quiñones sent a cross from the left that covered goalkeeper José de Jesús Corona in the 82nd minute to give the university the victory.

The Machine, which won the first leg 3-1, fell back to defend its advantage and opted for quick transitions against a Tigres that was unable to damage goalkeeper Jesús Corona’s goal.

Cruz Azul is back in the semifinals for the first time since Apertura 2018 when it reached a final that it lost to América.

La Machine, one of the four most popular teams in the country, seeks to break a title drought that dates back to the Invierno 97 tournament, when they beat León to lift the eighth crown in their history.

Tigres was frustrated in his desire to reach another final in a decade in which he has won five league titles.