Cruz Azul have secured a 2-1 home win over Atlante to take a small advantage into the return leg of their Ligulla tie this weekend, but they could have had a lead that was considerably bigger. Cristian 'Chaco' Gimenez was brilliant on the night, but he missed a penalty in the second half that could have put his team up 3-1. Cruz Azul missed another opportunity to go up late, when Cesar Villaluz missed an absolute sitter from inside the six yard box in the 88th minute.
Atlante scored the opener in the 7th minute, stunning the crowd at Estadio Azul. Picking up a cross from Arturo Muñóz, Giancarlos Maldonado finished hard past Jesus Corona, giving his team a surprising 1-0 lead. He was answered quickly by Chaco Gimenez, though, who hit a thunderous drive into the back of the net from 25 yards out after picking up the ball from Javier Aquino.
Just seconds after the halftime whistle, Chaco completed his brace, scoring an eerily similar driven goal just seconds after the start of the first half. It's the kind of goal he's gotten used to scoring over the years, and it's why Diego Maradona once included him in a national team squad, a rarity for an Argentinian playing in Mexico.
In the 66th minute, Cruz Azul were granted a penalty and Muñoz was shown his second yellow card for a "foul" on Waldo Ponce. Upon replay, it was obvious that Ponce went down without being contacted at all. Chaco stepped up to take the penalty kick, but justice was served as he was denied by a brilliant save by Moises Muñoz.
Cruz Azul had yet another chance to extend their lead in the 88th minute, but could not capitalize. After a counter-attack, the ball fell right at the feet of Cesar Villaluz inside of the six yard box. Vlllaluz failed to control it at first, then put a poor effort right off of Muñoz. Emmauel Villa attempted to follow up the chance with a shot on the rebound, but his effort sailed into Row Z.
A 2-1 home win is a good enough result for Cruz Azul to feel comfortable going to Cancun, but they might live to regret not cashing in on their other two missed golden opportunities.