Kevin C. Cox
Morelia were no match for America on Wednesday night, and have almost no chance of turning the tie around at the Azteca.
This will not be the year that Monarcas Morelia ends their title drought. Even while at home, they attempted to sit back and hit Club America quickly on the counter attack in the first leg of their Liguilla series. It didn't work, and America eventually ran out 2-0 winners thanks to two goals by 'Chucho' Cristian Benitez.
Away goals is the first tiebreaker in Liguilla, followed by seed, so Morelia will have to score three times at Estadio Azteca to have a chance to progress to the semifinal. For all intents and purposes, their tournament is over and America will be going through.
It didn't have to be this way for Morelia. They missed one chance that was better than either of the chances America converted. After a relatively uneventful first half, Morelia came out a bit more aggressively to start the second half. In the 53rd minute, Carlos Morales found Mauricio Romero in the center of the America penalty area for the easiest chance he'll ever see in his life, but Romero completely mishit his shot over the crossbar.
Chucho made Morelia pay for their missed chance four minutes later, nodding in a cross by Paul Aguilar to send America in front. He added another in the 75th minute, placing a great finish to the far post after Raul Jimenez laid the ball off to him in the penalty area.
Things got progressively worse for Morelia, and they're lucky to only be down two goals heading into the second leg. Romero made his night even worse by picking up a straight red card in the 82nd minute. America had three more great chances, including a post hit in the dying minutes, but failed to expand their lead. In the end, it shouldn't matter much. There doesn't appear to be any way back into this tie for Morelia.