MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — Now the wait for the Atlas didn’t have to be seven decades. Six months after managing to break a long drought without titles, the Foxes became the third two-time champion in Mexico since the short tournaments were installed.
Pachuca beat Atlas 2-1 on Sunday, which with a combined score of 3-2 was proclaimed champion of the Liga MX for the second consecutive tournament to equal what was previously done by Pumas (2004) and León (Apertura 2013 and Clausura 2014) .
Mexico has played two tournaments per year since 1996.
Ecuadorian Romario Ibarra put the hosts in front in the seventh minute, but Argentine Julio Furch equalized with a penalty in the 43rd and his compatriot Nicolás Ibáñez extended the score to 2-1 in first-half stoppage time.
Atlas conquered his third league title. His other championship had been achieved in the 1950-51 season and his fans had to wait seventy years to celebrate a new championship.
Los Zorros, led by Argentine Diego Cocca, had a solid tournament after breaking that drought and finished third in the regular tournament. In the league they knocked out Chivas in the quarterfinals and Tigres in the semifinals.
Pachuca presented itself as a greater challenge because it was the leader of the regular tournament with 38 points and qualified as first in the league with three dates remaining in the regular calendar.
Los Tuzos, led by Uruguayan Guillermo Almada, stayed on the verge of winning the seventh crown in their history, the first since Clausura 2016.
Pachuca took the lead almost immediately when Ecuadorian Ibarra shook off the mark of three defenders on the left flank, entered the area and converted Colombian goalkeeper Camilo Vargas with a powerful shot to the left post.
It seemed that the Tuzos could tie the match at 26 when Erick Sánchez fell inside the area due to contact with Peruvian defender Anderson Santamaría, but referee Fernando Hernández reviewed the play in the VAR and marked a previous offside.
Atlas tied the match when Daniel Aceves committed a handball inside the area after a shot by José Abella for a penalty that was validated with the VAR and Furch converted with a shot to the left side of Argentine goalkeeper Óscar Ustari, who beat the other side.
When the first half expired, Víctor Guzmán sent a cross from the left wing towards the small area where Ibáñez beat his marker and converted with a header through the right post by Vargas.
In the second half, the Tuzos flirted with their third when Sánchez reached the bottom line on the right and sent a low cross that went over the goal line before a defender deflected the ball.
Pachuca knocked on the door again at 68 with an attempt by Ibáñez that went over the visiting goal.
Atlas got complicated 10 minutes from the end when the Ecuadorian Aníbal Chalá was sent off for a foul outside the area that was reviewed in the VAR.