It’s Cruz Azul vs. Atlante for the Concachampions final. It'll be the 6th time that two Mexican sides will take the field in the finals. For the winner, off you go to Dubai for the World Club Championship this December.
Atlante got the lead, lost the lead, tied, and finally went ahead on a very soft penalty decision in 2nd half stoppage time for a 3-1 win (4-3). The call was one of those spirit of the law vs. letter of the law decisions. The letter of the law says if you extend your arms and knock the guy down, it’s a foul. The spirit of the law, however, says thou shall not call game-deciding penalties in stoppage time unless said infraction clearly impedes offensive player from scoring. That did not happen here. What is y’all’s criteria for late game penalty decisions?
Santos’ Chato Rodriguez then reminded us all of his wasted potential when he smacked Rafael Marquez Lugo in the back of the head after Lugo had put Atlante ahead for good. Rodriguez had all the tools to be a great player, but tool between the ears has always gotten in the way. The ensuing melée proved to be very costly for Atlante as they lost both Venezuelan International Giancarlo Maldonado and Miguel Angel Martinez for at least the first leg of the final.
Marquez Lugo, on the other hand, has had somewhat of a resurrection with Atlante. He was left for dead after a disappointing turn at Club America, but has done well with the hipocampos (sea horses), particularly in the Concachampions. Given Mexico’s dearth of up front talent, he has as good a chance as anyone to impress el Vasco for Tri duty. He was clearly the best player on the pitch last night.
Since both Cruz Azul and Atlante are having dreadful Clausuras, the finals are their only chance to win some hardware. That will hopefully mean that we’ll get an entertaining final. Both teams are eerily similar in make-up: a lot of talent up front, solid midfields, and so-so defense. Atlante does have a big advantage in goal with Federico Vilar (that’s Vilar with one L, Max Bretos, not two. No need to call him Vizhar. We know you are an argentiphlie, but that sounds a little labored). So Atlante should win this thing, right? Perhaps. They are a kind of team that wins when they are the underdog and loses to teams they are supposed to beat. I still insist that if Atlante is going to play in Cancún, then they absolutely need to build a seaside stadium. Panoramas that pretty need to be maximized.