MEXICO CITY - Club América secured its first domestic title since 2005, overcoming Cruz Azul on penalties on Sunday after the second leg of 2013 Liga MX Clausura final.
Two goals in the last four minutes gave América a 2-1 win at the Estadio Azteca that forced extra time, since the first leg had ended in a 1-0 victory for Cruz Azul. In the end, it was decided by penalties and the Eagles outlasted 'La Máquina' 4-2 in a classic Mexican duel that will live long in the memory.
The contest started in favor of the visitors when in the 13th minute América was left a man down. Jesús Antonio Molina was issued a straight red for a foul on Pablo Barrera, leaving his team with the disadvantage of ultimately having to play with ten men for 107 minutes.
In the 20th minute, Cruz Azul struck first via its extraordinary ability to counterattack. Teofilo Gutiérrez used his tremendous speed on the right side to get past defender Aquivaldo Mosquera and beat goalkeeper Moisés Muñoz to make it 1-0.
Twenty minutes later, América should have equalized through Raul Jiménez. The 22-year-old forward received a tremendous pass from Christian Benitez and was one-on-one with Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jesús Corona. But like he did so many times in the first leg last Thursday, Corona made a magnificent stop.
In the second half, América went all out, but were initially let down by its final touch. Cruz Azul nearly sealed the series in the 73rd minute, but Christian Giménez's shot hit the inside part of the post and incredibly did not go in.
The drama, though, was still to come and it appeared in the 89th minute as Mosquera headed past Corona to make it 2-1 in the aggregate.
Three minutes later, the Eagles miraculously equalized in the dying seconds from an own-goal. A header by América goalkeeper Muñoz was deflected by Cruz Azul midfielder Alejandro Castro into his own net.
The 2-2 aggregate forced extra time and with the euphoria of their great comeback giving them a huge lift, América searched for the decisive goal in the 30 additional minutes. They had two great chances, in the 100th and 104th minutes, but Corona came up with huge saves each time.
The Mexico City rivals went to penalties, where two Cruz Azul misses proved decisive, while América converted each of its attempts, including the fourth one taken by Miguel Layún that earned América the 11th league championship in its history.