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May 1, 2014
Liguilla quarterfinal first leg roundup

America 5, Santos Laguna 3
Raul Jimenez led the way with a natural hat trick as fifth-seeded Club America rallied to defeat #4 Santos Laguna in the first leg of their Liguilla quarterfinal series Wednesday at Estadio Azteca.

The match was close through halftime, with America’s Osvaldo Martinez and the Guerreros’ Rodolfo Salinas trading early goals, but things opened up quickly after the intermission. Darwin Quintero put Santos Laguna up 2-1 with a wide-open strike in the 48th minute, and Ribair Rodriguez made the score 3-1 with a header in the 53rd minute.

Jimenez brought the Aguilas back from the brink starting in the 59th minute. He leveled the score 3-3 in the 80th, with his second headed goal of the game, and backheeled home a rebound for the game-winner six minutes later. Rubens Sambueza added an insurance goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

The aggregate-goals series concludes Saturday at Estadio TSM Corona. America defender Francisco Rodriguez will miss the second leg after a stoppage-time red card on Wednesday.

Leon 1, Cruz Azul 1
Jose Cardenas scored in the 20th minute to lift eighth-seeded Leon into a 1-1 tie with #1 Cruz Azul in the first leg of their Liguilla quarterfinal series Wednesday at Estadio Nou Camp.

La Maquina roared out of the gate with a third-minute goal from Hugo Pavone, who flicked a shot past netminder William Yarbrough. Cardenas equalized with a picturebook shot to the upper left corner.

Mauro Boselli had the best chance to snatch the win for Leon, but netminder Jesus Corona dove to turn away his point-blank 84th-minute shot.

Cruz Azul hosts the second leg Saturday at Estadio Azul.

Pachuca 1, Pumas 1
Third-seeded Pumas got a stoppage-time goal from Javier Cortes to open the Liguilla quarterfinals with a 1-1 tie against #6 Pachuca Thursday at Estadio Hidalgo.

The match was scoreless until the 70th minute, when Abraham Carreno snagged a rebound to give the Tuzos a 1-0 advantage.

Pachuca seized the early momentum, with Diego De Buen cracking a shot off the bar in the second minute. Pachuca also had a penalty kick in the 37th minute, but regular season scoring leader Enner Valencia missed the mark.

The aggregate-goals series wraps up Sunday at Estadio Olimpico Universitario.

Tijuana 0, Toluca 0
Tijuana and Toluca played to a scoreless tie in their Liguilla Quarterfinal opener Thursday at Estadio Caliente.

#7 Tijuana got off to a fast start, but Dario Benedetto sent his first-minute shot just over the bar. In the 12th minute, Richard Ruiz forced Diablos Rojos netminder Alfredo Talavera into a diving save, and Fidel Martinez missed the mark from close range in the 25th.

Second-seeded Toluca never really found their rhythm, and needed a goal line clearance by defender Paulo Da Silva on Edgar Castillo in the 70th minute to keep the match scoreless.

Second-seeded Toluca host the winner-take-all second leg Sunday at Estadio Nemesio Diez.

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