América into Apertura 2023 final but unbeaten run comes to an end
André Jardine’s side lost Saturday’s return leg 0-2 to Atlético de San Luis - bringing to an end a streak that between victories and draws, lasted for almost six months.
Everything had seemed pretty much defined from the first leg at the Alfonso Lastras - a resounding 0-5 result which appeared to set América on their way to the final and seemingly left no way back for Atlético de San Luis. But it was a completely different story when the two teams met to decide the tie in Saturday’s return leg. André Jardine’s side looked weak and were under pressure right from the moment Atlético de San Luis took to the pitch. It could even have turned into a disastrous evening had Luis Ángel Malagón not kept them in it with a string of crucial saves.
Two second half strikes, one at the start of the half and one at the end, from Ángel Zaldívar gave the visitors a glimmer of hope that they could pull off the impossible at the Azteca but América managed to cling on - just. América are through to the final - their first in four years but with question marks hanging over them just as the Apertura 2023 reaches its defining moment.
First defeat in almost half a year
If Saturday’s return leg showed us anything, it was that América are not invincible - in spite of the figures they registered during both the regular season and the liguilla. The Águilas topped the standings with 40 points from a possible 51, and apart from a 1-2 defeat to Juárez on the opening day, did not lose a single match of the Apertura 2023. For six months, Jardine’s team looked irrepressible - until last night.
After the results accumulated during the regular phase: 12 victories, four draws and one defeat, América suffered their first defeat in 163 days and 20 games.
Now, just one game remains - the final, the most important of all. There, they will meet the winners of the other semi-final between Pumas and Tigres. That tie will be decided later today at Estadio Universitario with the hosts defending a slim 0-1 lead from the first leg.