🇲🇽 Cabral's penalty proves difference as Pachuca eliminate América

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Seamus Leonard

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América’s Guard1anes 2021 campaign came to an end on Sunday as they exited on away goals after a compelling quarter-final battle with Pachuca.

Scorers: Mártinez PEN 17′, 53′, Fuentes 27′, Suárez 73′; Ibarra 5′, Cabral PEN 63′

América 4
Pachuca 2
Full time

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, the Azulcrema got off to the worst possible start when they fell behind inside the opening five minutes.

Pachuca’s slick and incisive passing cut through the home defence to afford Romario Ibarra the opportunity to fire home a low effort.

América were thrown a lifeline when Jorge Daniel Hernández has harshly adjudged to have committed a hand ball inside the Pachuca penalty area. Roger Martínez sent his successful spot kick straight down the middle.

Martínez then turned provider as his intelligent cross was volleyed into the ground and over goalkeeper Oscar Ustari by Luis Fuentes.

América levelled the tie at 4-4 on aggregate shortly after the interval when Martínez’s effort from distance bounced off the upright and in to send the home crowd at the Estadio Azteca wild.

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The game took another dramatic twist just after the hour mark when América’s Bruno Valdez was guilty of a clear hand ball in his own area.

Gustavo Cabral converted the penalty to swing the pendulum firmly back in the favour of Los Tuzos.

But Las Águilas made it 4-2 on the night 17 minutes from time when Leo Suárez’s wicked left-footed free-kick arrowed its way to the top corner.

Santiago Solari’s side were unable to find the additional goal they needed, which means Pachuca scraped into the semi-finals on a 5-5 aggregate scoreline.