03 Jun Soccer Insights June- Vol. 1
Pachuca defeated Monterrey 2-1 on aggregate after a thrilling two game series between the two teams. Victor Guzman’s goal in the third minute of stoppage time propelled Pachuca to their first league title in the last nine years.
The 1-0 scoreline did not reflect the dominant performance Pachuca displayed during the first game in Estadio Hidalgo on Thursday. The goal came from Argentinian Franco Jara after an impressive header in the 61st minute. Pachuca went into the second leg of the tournament extremely confident.
In the second game Monterrey had an opportunity to take an early lead in the 33rd minute, but the Colombia native, Edwin Cardona, sent the ball over the bar. Monterrey posted an astonishing 20 shots in the first half of the game two but only went into the locker room up 1-0.
Pachuca took a huge blow in the 74th minute as their captain, Aquivaldo Mosquera, was sent off after deliberately Pabon. Guzman’s late goal for Pachuca eliminated the possibility for overtime and allowed Pachuca to lift the Liga MX trophy after finishing the game with only 10 men.
At the age of 43, Pachuca’s keeper, Oscar “Conejo” Perez, received the man-of-the-match honor. With one year left on his contract, the veteran goal keeper has no plans of retiring before next season.
Champions League Final
Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 5-3 in penalties on Saturday to capture their 11th Champions League title. The game was sent into extra time after a 1-1 tie in regular time at the San Siro in Milan, Italy. The championship between the cross town rivals was a rematch of the 2014 final where Real Madrid defeated Atletico 4-1.
Sergio Ramos put Real Madrid up early in the 15th minute with a controversial goal that left Atletico fans angered. Ramos look to be in an offside position before sneaking the ball into the back of the net.
Real dominated possession in the early stages of the match. Shortly after the start of the second half, Fernando Torres won a penalty kick for Atletico. Antoine Griezmann stepped up to take the penalty, ricocheting it off the crossbar, keeping Real Madrid up 1-0.
Substitute Yannick Carrasco scored a beautiful goal for Atletico off a perfect Juanfran cross in the 79th minute, sending the game into extra time.
After a goalless 30 minutes of extra time, the game would have to be determined over a penalty shootout. After an impressive performance throughout the game, Juanfran nailed the fourth penalty shot for Atletico Madrid off the left post leaving the door wide open for Real Madrid.
After an injury scare during training the week before the match, the fate of the game and the UCL title fittingly fell into the hands of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo confidently stepped up and buried the ball into the back of the net to propel Real Madrid to its 11th Champions League title.
Sergio Ramos was awarded the man-of-the-match for his early goal and impressive defensive play.
Copa America Centenario
The U.S. and Colombia will officially kick-off the Copa America Centenario at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, TONIGHT! The group stage already has some big games like the aforementioned USA vs Colombia, being Brazil vs Ecuador, Mexico vs Uruguay and Argentina vs Chile the others that will surely see packed stadiums and the biggest TV numbers.
On the sporting side, the U.S. have a chance to redeem themselves following a rather disappointing 2015, when they were knocked-out from the Gold Cup semifinals by a surprising Jamaican side. Colombia is a favorite, even after a not so good Copa America 2015, but stars like James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca can change the course of any game. What about Costa Rica? well, they’re probably the third best team in CONCACAF, and their successful 2014 World Cup has led to a bright era (led by Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz and others) that has yet to meet its end. Paraguay will always be a tough team, and the cannot be taken out of the equation.
Group B has Haiti piled up against none other than Brazil, an absolute title candidate. They must also worry about Ecuador, who have shown incredible performances in the opening games of the South American World Cup Qualifiers. Peru is also a opponent to be considered, their third place in the 2015 Copa America is evidence of that.
Mexico were placed in Group C, and their biggest treat is with no doubt Uruguay. Elite strikers like Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani pose a serious danger for any team, and Mexican defense will have to show what they’ve got. Then you have the uncertainty of stars like Chicharito Hernandez, who will have to choose between playing this unique tournament or be part of the squad that will tackle the Summer Olympics in Rio. Jamaica showed during the Gold Cup that they can dream big, while Venezuela is facing a pretty bad time with their national team.
Last but not least, Group D. The latest Copa America champions and runner-ups – Chile and Argentina – will face once again, this time in the earliest stage of the tournament. We could see the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero battling on the field with Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal. Panama and Bolivia are not considered as serious candidates to go through, but a surprise is always on the menu of the top soccer events.
- This marks the first time that the tournament will take place outside of South America as the USA looks to defend its home turf in this historic COPA America Centenario since its last appearance in 2007.
- This year marks the 100th anniversary for the tournament since its installation in 1916 and will feature 16 teams instead of the usual 12 teams. All ten teams will be featured from CONMEBOL and six teams from CONCACAF.
- Chile looks to become repeat champions after winning its first ever COPA America title in 2015.
What to watch for this weekend: