Pachuca, Chivas earn Final spots – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo: Liga MX Femenil.

History is repeating itself in Liga MX Femenil.

In the very first season of domestic women’s competition in Mexico, in the 2017 Apertura, Chivas de Guadalajara took down Pachuca for the first-ever Liga MX Femenil title. Since then, Chivas has been to two Liga MX Femenil finals, and Pachuca has not made a return.

That is, until now.

Pachuca and Chivas won their respective matches against CF Monterrey and Tigres – ironically the two teams who made the Apertura Final this past fall – and advanced to the two-legged final. Take a look at how they did it and what you should look forward to in the Liga MX Femenil Clausura Final!

Pachuca (3), CF Monterrey (2)

Pachuca stunned Club America in the quarterfinals and now the No. 5 Tuzos surprised the No. 1 seeded CF Monterrey in the semifinals. Monterrey won the Liga MX Femenil Apertura back in the fall but will not be going for the double-victory in the Clausura. Instead, Pachuca will look to earn their first-ever title this weekend.

Charlyn Corral scored both goals in Leg 1, as Pachuca earned a shutout victory – not an easy accomplishment against Monterrey, who scored a whopping 51 goals in the Clausura regular-season. Corral’s first tally, in the 20th minute, saw her wide open on the left side and cut through two defenders – Rebeca Bernal and Valeria del Campo – to shoot at an extremely tough angle past Alex Godinez.

Corral’s second goal came off another tough angle, shooting outside the box on the right. Corral sprinted past her defender and got the shot off against Del Campo again, besting the Costa Rican twice in the match.

On the road in the second leg, Esbeydi Salazar scored a third goal on aggregate to top Rayadas. Monterrey had goals in the 48th and 57th minutes from Yamile Franco and Bernal, respectively, but Salazar’s open shot in the box gave Tuzos the edge on aggregate.

Pachuca has been the dark horse throughout the Liga MX Femenil season. They had a major acquisition with Corral joining the club in 2021 after stints in Europe, last with Atlético Madrid. Corral finished the regular-season with 13 goals, finishing second behind Alicia Cervantes of Chivas in the Golden Boot race. Her leadership and European experience have carried this team and has propelled them to their second-ever Liga MX Femenil Final.

Chivas (2), Tigres (2)

Let’s get the discussion of rules out of the way, first. Chivas advanced to the Liga MX Femenil Final based on the aggregate scoreline alone. There was no need for penalty kicks or extra time to decide who would move on. In Liga MX Femenil, if the score remains tied, on aggregate, after Leg 2, then the team with the higher seeding moves on to the next round. In a way, it gives plenty of incentive for good regular-season performances.

Chivas sat in the No. 2 seed (43 points), while Tigres was right behind in No. 3 (39 points).

Each match finished with the same 2-0 scoreline. Tigres won Leg 1 at home, while Chivas came back on aggregate and won 2-0 at home, as well.

In Leg 1, Mia Fishel scored in the 62nd minute. The American smashed a header, delivered perfectly from captain Stephany Mayor, past a diving Blanca Félix. In the 77th minute, Nigerian international Uchenna Kanu scored 23 off a header of her own, also assisted by Mayor. Kanu leaped over her defender and narrowly got the ball past Félix.

Leg 2 began with Tigres giving Chivas a scare at home with plenty of attacking attempts in the first half. Right before the halftime whistle blew, Karol Bernal was the unlikely hero to score off a header on a free kick, which was lofted over the wall by Joseline Montoya. In the second half, Chivas got their equalizer – on aggregate – from Kinberly Guzmán in the 86th minute. Guzmán, off a perfectly placed ball from Caro Jaramillo, barely got her toes on the ball to get it past Tigres goalkeeper Aurora Santiago.

Liga MX Femenil Gran Final Preview

Pachuca is the underdog here, while Chivas is a much more experienced team in the Gran Final. The Liguilla – and regular-season – has been very kind to Alicia Cervantes and Charlyn Corral. However, while Tigres had no problem silencing Cervantes in the semifinal, Monterrey could not do the task against Corral. Her goals were highlight-reel worthy, and Chivas is going to have their hands full.

Pachuca hosts the first leg, while Chivas will take hosting duties for the second game. History saw Chivas win the first-ever Liga MX Femenil title in 2017, and now Pachuca is ready to rewrite history in favor of themselves.

Of course, Corral and Cervantes are the players to watch in this match, but keep an eye on the goalkeepers too. Blanca Félix edged out Celeste Espino in the Clausura for the starting job at Chivas and has thrived in the role. She made a wicked save against Pumas in Leg 2 of the quarterfinal. Meanwhile, for Pachuca, Esthefanny Barreras has been enjoying a solid Clausura campaign.

It’s tough to pick a winner in this one. Part of me wants to pick Chivas based on the experience, but if you know me – and have seen my March Madness brackets on Twitter in recent years – you know it’s impossible for me to root against an underdog. If Corral and Pachuca lift the Liga MX Femenil table, it would be a great change from seeing the same three teams win. And, realistically, I believe they can do it.

Liga MX Femenil Gran Final Clausura 2022

Leg 1: Pachuca hosts Chivas de Guadalajara on Friday, May 20, at 10 PM ET. There is no streaming available in the United States, as no network / service has rights for Pachuca.

Leg 2: Chivas de Guadalajara hosts Pachuca on Monday, May 23, at 9 PM ET. The match will be available on Chivas TV and on Telemundo Deportes (streaming).

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