Cruz Azul won their first game of the Clausura 2016 season by defeating Chiapas FC 2-1 at the Azul Stadium in Mexico City. La maquina cementera kicked-off Saturday action of La Liga MX with an action-packed game that had the “Mexican blues” down a player on the field from the 20th minute of play.
The game kicked off with the azulinos dominating the pitch, moving forward and attacking the Jaguares’ net. It was the home side that was making the plays and looking like a superior team with a mission. But that came to a close in the 20th minute when defender Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez was sent off for a rough tackle on Francisco Silva who was not able to recover and needed to be subbed out.
The tempo of the game changed and went from a one-side game to one full of back and forth action. Despite being a man-down, Cruz Azul did not ease-off on attack keeping the pressure on. However, an absurd error from defender Julio Dominguez in the area saw a penalty called against la maquina. Argentine Silvio Romero, who was taken down in the area, converted from the spot to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.
The second half began with Chiapas taking the first shot on goal and it appeared the visitors would be taking control of the game. But a few minutes later Cruz Azul equalized with a shot from Paraguayan Jorge Benitez. Aldo Leão took the ball down the side and paused to look up and see his options. The Colombian centered, and Benitez was in the middle of the area to put the ball past goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez for the 1-1.
Chiapas went all out for the game and advanced their lines against a team that was numerically challenged on the pitch. This allowed for spaces in the field that Cruz Azul was able to take advantage of with counterattacks. In the 77th minute, the Azulinos caught the Chiapas defense off guard and Benitez took the ball all the way to the end line. The Paraguayan centered to Leão who was able to juggle the ball in the area then hammer it past Jimenez for the 2-1.
Cruz Azul was down a player for most of the game, but this was not evident on the pitch with la maquina outplaying their opponents with ease. Cruz Azul managed to earn the three points and move up in the league table.