Brendan Doherty

📝Club América 4-1 Veracruz: Águilas soar past floundering visitors

Roger Martínez got the match underway with a goal in the second minute and América kept the pressure on Veracruz in the final fixture of the Apertura.

Club América entered Saturday’s match against Veracruz as heavy favorites and azulcrema fans did not have to wait long to celebrate.

Colombian forward Roger Martínez scored in the second minute of the match, which was played at Nemesio Díez Stadium in Toluca to give a rest to the criticized playing surface at the Azteca Stadium. Martínez finished a low cross from Cecilio Domínguez to take the early lead.

Guido Rodríguez doubled the home team’s lead just six minutes later after picking the ball off of Veracruz’s Hibert Ruiz and driving forward himself.

Veracruz pegged América back from the penalty spot just past a quarter-hour after left-back Jefferson Murillo won a foul from Paul Aguilar. Chilean winger Bryan Carrasco converted past goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín in the 16th minute.

Centre back Luis Caicedo Medina can count himself lucky not to see red for striking his cleats into the leg of Martínez. From the ensuing free kick, however, Emanuel Aguilera restored América’s two-goal margin in the 26th minute.

Jesús Paganoni made matters worse for the Tiburones Rojos at the end of the first half when he earned his marching orders in stoppage time. Paganoni used his arm to block Oribe Peralta’s goal-bound header after goalkeeper Sebastián Jurado Roca was already beaten.

With the last kick of the first half, Domínguez hit a tame spot-kick that Roca caught and held.

The home side continued to push the issue after the intermission.

Renato Ibarra scored the cherry on top of América’s sundae with the team’s fourth goal in the 69th minute. Ibarra put the contest on ice with a superb effort on a free kick.

Veracruz end the Apertura in dead-last place and currently occupy the league’s relegation spot, which averages points earned over six short-season tournaments.

Three points from Saturday’s victory move Club América up to 33 points, good enough for second place in the Liga MX Apertura 2018. América head into the Liguilla as the second seed and will face whichever team ends in seventh place after Sunday’s regular season finales.