It took eight games for Club America to finally defeat Cruz Azul in a Mexico City derby. The azulcremas did it with style to the beat of Ecuadorian Cristian “Chucho” Benitez’ drum. The lethal striker earned a “Hat trick” in the 3-0 win at the Azteca stadium to kick off Saturday’s action in the Clausura 2013 of La Liga MX.
“Chucho” Benitez’ “hat trick” put him back in the hearts of the America faithful. He scored two in the first half giving the home side a good advantage at the break. Israel Castro was sent off minutes before the half for a hard tackle on Argentine Rubens Sambueza, a move that seriously ruined the maquina’s aspirations at taking the game. Paul Aguilar was also sent off in the first minutes of the second half leaving both teams with one man down.
The azulcremas hit the pitch with full confidence despite having lost their previous Liga MX game against Santos last week. The Mexico City squad arrived in third place on the league table with aspirations to end Week 9 behind league leaders Tigres UANL.
The game began with America captain Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez receiving a yellow card for a dangerous play. The first 20 minutes had shots from both sides with Aguilar serving the ball on several occasions to the team forwards.
Cruz Azul also had their shots with Argentines Mariano Pavone and Cristian Jimenez taking the lead on the attack. However, the local squad took over the pitch stopping the maquina cementera from making any real danger on Hugo Gonzalez’ net.
Benitez broke the net in the 23rd minute. Paraguayan Osvaldo Martinez sent the ball to Benitez on a set piece. The Ecuadorian dove to head the ball past goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona to open scoring for America.
The game returned to a back-and-forth ordeal with both teams having shots on goal. It was also starting to get rough as the referee pulled four cautionary yellow cards in a seven minute span. The referee put a stop to the hard tackles when he sent off Castro. The midfielder took Sambueza down and the referee did not hesitate to pull the second yellow to send Castro off with the automatic red.
The expulsion played heavily on the visitors. They could not find their game as a key midfielder was removed from the pitch. Within five minutes America broke the net once more. On a ball clearance that a Cruz Azul midfielder could not control, Benitez took the rebound past several defenders. He twisted and fired to Corona’s left bottom corner to double the lead. The game went to the break with America leading 2-0.
Cruz Azul came out with more intensity despite having a man down in the second half pushing the home side back. This forced the America defense to increase their defending. Aguilar made a hard challenge in an attempt to move the ball forward. The referee pulled a straight red card on the winger. Both teams were now a man down.
America sealed the game on a corner kick in the 69th minute. Benitez cleared his marker and headed the ball across the penalty box to find Corona’s right top corner. No one was guarding the post and the ball went in to give America the 3-0.
With both teams having the same amount of players, the game returned to back-and-forth action. However, America was closer to getting the fourth goal than Cruz Azul was to scoring their first. The America faithful cheered when Benitez was substituted sending the Ecuadorian home with the feeling that he had reconquered the Azteca fans.
America reaches 19 points and moves into second place behind Tigres UANL. The eagles will visit Monarcas Morelia in week 10. Cruz Azul remains with 10 points and remains in 12th place. The cementeros will host Jaguares de Chiapas FC next week.
Queretaro FC 1, CF Monterrey 0
Pachuca 2, San Luis FC 1
Tigres UANL 1, Monarcas Morelia 1
Leon FC 0, Puebla FC 1