The heavily-favored Pachuca did their part, played a defensive game that stymied the home team all night, and came away with a draw that was like a win.
San Luis 0 – 0 Pachuca
Pachuca came into San Luis and managed to leave unscathed as neither side could affect the scoreboard, making for a very interesting rematch Sunday with the Tuzos having a clear advantage.
The game started as expected: San Luis came out attacking, while the Tuzos stood firm in the rear, but doing little up front.
Pachuca seemed to miss Nelson Cuevas, called up by Paraguay for the World Cup, as Richard Nuñez had no one from the left side to find Chitiva and Landin.
The home team’s midfield was suffocating, between Alvaro Ortiz and Octavio Valdez, they seemed to win every battle, take every ball away, and pressured Miguel Calero’s goal.
Angel Reyna, who had scored two goals in the postseason, was held in check most of the night.
In the second half, Pachuca took control of the ball. Scoring chances were few and far between, as the field got drenched with rain.
The home team had a good opportunity in the 57th when Israel Martinez had a good look from the left side, but his shot went wide right.
Eight minutes later, Pachuca’s best chance fizzled as the Fernando Salazar free kick hit goalkeeper Adrian Martinez’s left leg.
Raul Arias’s second half substitutions of Emilio Mora and Ariel Gonzalez proved fruitless.
For the first time this liguilla, the miracle San Luis team is against the ropes, forced to win in hostile territory against a hotly favored opponent, though this time it’s for the ultimate prize—the championship trophy.
Defender, Leobardo Lopez: “Today we were a team that was organized, focused, and most importantly, we kept the zero.”
Striker, Luis Angel Landin: “The 0-0 is a good result but it’s not an advantage, because San Luis is a capable team, and worthy of this final.”
Coach, Jose Luis Trejo: “Everything remains equal. All the possibilities are the same for both teams. The 0-0 is not an advantage for us because there could be equal pressure and San Luis’s game could be different. I think we had the better scoring opportunities. They got there little and in a tight game like this, we had to control them, for they were looking to score.”
Striker, Angel Reyna: “They came to shut us down, to get the zero.”
Center back, Adrian Garcia Arias: “They came to play their game, to look for an error in the back, and they had two chances to score and did not make them.”
Coach, Raul Arias: “We lacked aggressiveness, for the team had rebounds, headers and strikes that never made it to the goal area.”