MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — With a goal from Uruguayan defender Sebastián Cáceres, América extended its unbeaten streak to nine games by drawing 1-1 with Puebla on Wednesday in the first leg of the quarterfinals of Mexico’s Clausura tournament.
Venezuelan striker Fernando Aristeguieta put the hosts ahead in the 55th minute, but Cáceres finished off a dead-ball cross to equalize in the 79th.
The Eagles, who were bottom halfway through the tournament, have not lost since the ninth date, when Monterrey beat them in the first match of interim coach Fernando Ortiz, who relieved his dismissed compatriot Santiago Solari.
To advance to their first semifinals since Clausura 2019, America will need a tie in the second leg, on Saturday night at the Azteca stadium.
The Eagles seek their elimination from the league at the first change, something that happened to them in the three previous tournaments. With Solari, América was eliminated by Pachuca and Pumas in both tournaments in 2021 and in December 2020 lost under the guidance of Miguel Herrera against Chivas.
Puebla, which is playing in the league for the fourth straight tournament, needs any win to advance to its first semifinals since last year’s Clausura.
The local team had the first goal arrival in the match, five minutes in with a shot by Uruguayan Maximiliano Araujo, deflected with difficulty by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
América had its first approach until the 45th minute, with a shot by Alejandro Zendejas from outside the area, which was saved from a corner kick by Paraguayan goalkeeper Anthony Silva.
Puebla took the lead when América lost a ball at the start, the Argentine Juan Pablo Segovia sent a cross from the left to Aristeguieta, who made a shot that was rejected by Ochoa, but in the counterattack the Venezuelan striker did not miss.
América equalized in a set piece played by the Chilean Diego Valdés, in which Cáceres hit a header that entered the left post.
SAN LUIS RESCUES AGONIC DRAW
Uruguayan Juan Sanabria scored in stoppage time and Atlético de San Luis rescued a 2-2 draw against Pachuca at home.
Argentine striker Nicolás Ibáñez signed a brace with goals at five and 78 minutes, and it seemed that the Tuzos would come out with a victory in a foreign court, but Sanabria took advantage of a rebound to convert the equalizer at 93.
Despite the agonizing goal, it would be enough for Pachuca to draw at home to qualify for the semifinals, thanks to the fact that they were the best team in the regular phase.
The second leg is scheduled for Saturday night at the Hidalgo stadium.
In Mexico, the away goal was eliminated as a criterion to tie the tie in the league series and in case of equality, the position in the table determines which team goes ahead.
The Argentine Germán Berterame converted a penalty in the 25th minute for another goal for San Luis, who now needs a win to stay alive.
Los Tuzos took the lead when Colombian Avilés Hurtado sent a cross from the right to the heart of the area, where Ibáñez took advantage of the poor local marking and connected with a header, chopped and through the right side of Argentine goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero.
San Luis reacted and equalized when Kevin Álvarez committed a foul inside the area on Berterame and the same striker converted with a powerful shot through the center of the goal defended by the Argentine Óscar Ustari.
Atlético knocked on the door again at 33 with a header from Venezuelan Jhon Murillo that crashed into the crossbar.
Pachuca was close to his second goal with a shot inside the area by Víctor Guzmán, but “Trapito” Barovero deflected it to a corner kick.
Los Tuzos reflected their dominance when Álvarez sent a cross from the right into the area, where Ibáñez, again with a header, finished off Barovero without a chance.
As the match expired, Sanabria took advantage of a rebound from the visiting defense and set the ball on fire with a left-footed shot that entered Ustari’s left post for 2-2.