August 11, 2010 could have been a banner day for Mexican futbol. Two high profile games were played within hours of each other. Both games yielded disappointing results, but for very different reasons.
Spain made its first appearance since claiming its first World Cup a little over a month ago. La Roja was at the Azteca as part of Mexico’s Bicentennial celebration. There was pomp and circumstance aplenty. The Tri honored Spain with a “pasillo”, the World Cup trophy was present at the stadium (and earlier at the Basilica de Guadalupe), and interim coach, Enrique “Ojitos” Meza, presented a line up that 99.99% of the 100 million other Mexican coaches wanted to see – albeit about six weeks earlier in Africa.
Chicharito continued his charmed existence with yet another tally. In a span of two weeks, Hernandez scored for ManU, Chivas, and Mexico. I t5hink it is safe to say that his signing was not a publicity stunt at all. The kid can play. It will be great moment when Sir Alex debuts him in front of the home folks Monday night at Old Trafford against Newcastle.
Other than Hernandez’ goal, Mexico and Spain both played at the level one would expect in an early season friendly. It was weird seeing a team take more possession from Mexico, especially at the Azteca, but Spain managed to keep the ball, considering it was the afternoon, a mile and a half up in the air, and the midweek smog crush that is Mexico City. It could have been worse, though. Summer rains clean out the DF. Some. A huge credit to the Spanish for committing to their style of play. And in the end, Xavi took advantage of a very sloppy Maza pass to find el Chino Silva in stoppage time. It ended 1-1.
A few hours later, it was Chivas’ turn under the spotlight. Their brand new Estadio Omnilife hosted its first official match. It was nothing less than the Copa Libertadores final against Internacional de Porto Allegre. A massive match. A can’t miss. I can’t think of a better showcase for Mexican futbol: the fiercely nationalist, most popular team in Mexico playing in their new palace. It had to have been the toughest ticket in town.
Had to have been a tough ticket because there were quite a few empty seats. The fans lackadaisical attitude was matched on the field by Chivas. Inter took control of the game from the outset, and even though Bofo Bautista scored a wonderful against the run of play to end the first half (their only shot on goal), it was only a matter of time before the Brazilians would be rewarded for their effort.
They got two in the second half, 5 minutes apart to take the first leg, 2-1. Luckily for Chivas, away goals are not a tiebraking criterium in the Final, so if they win by one goal next week in Porto Alegre, they’ll at least go to extra time.
Nevertheless, one expected more from the team and its fans, than the listless performance last night.