The Clausura 2023 Gran Final is set!
On Monday, Club América and Pachuca downed the mighty Tigres and C.F. Monterrey, respectively, for a shot at the Liga MX Femenil crown. Club América sat in third on the regular season table, while Pachuca occupied the fifth spot. The mighty indeed fell, as Monterrey and Tigres sat atop the table in first and second after four months of competition.
Now, the two underdogs are going to the Gran Final, a two-legged championship. It’s been a while since Club América won the championship, but they made the trip to the final last year, ultimately losing to Tigres. However, during the 2018 Apertura, Club América claimed victory over Tigres.
Pachuca — who boast Golden Boot winner Charlyn Corral, who broke the Liga MX Femenil record with 20 goals this season — finished second to Chivas de Guadalajara a year ago, in the 2022 Clausura. Pachuca and Chivas also competed in the first-ever Gran Final, in Apertura 2017, with Chivas winning the inaugural title.
This will be the first time that América and Pachuca will compete against each other for the title, with one already tasting victory and the other coming close twice.
How did they get to the Gran Final? Let’s take a look at how they completed their upsets.
Club América blanks Tigres — at home and away
During the quarterfinals, América’s Alison González scored her 100th goal in Liga MX Femenil competition. She’s only 21 years old, celebrating her birthday in January. González added on to her career total with a crucial goal at home to earn a slight advantage in the first leg. González struck from about 30 yards out, slipping it past Tigres goalkeeper Aurora Santiago, who hit the ground in an awkward motion.
It wasn’t a massive lead, but it was a lead nonetheless as América went to the formidable El Volcán stadium to face Tigres in Leg 2. Betzy Cuevas was the unlikely hero on the road, scoring in the 71st minute to give América a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Cuevas outran her defender and, with one touch, hit the ball past Santiago.
Tigres threw the kitchen sink at América, but goalkeeper Itzel González and her defense stood strong, earning two clean sheets in both matches. Gearing up for a Gran Final against lethal goal scorers Corral and Spanish international Jenni Hermoso, Club América’s defense needed a strong performance against Tigres. They got it, and now they’re moving on.
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Salazar scores ‘golden goal’ for Pachuca to move on
On a team that has Corral, Hermoso and other star players, Pachuca had their own unlikely hero in their Liguilla semifinal cash. At home, Pachuca and C.F. Monterrey traded attacks on goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net and drew 0-0.
But on the road, Pachuca shined. Controlling the game at Estadio BBVA, Pachuca punched their ticket to the final thanks to a surprising source: Esbeydi Salazar. However, it may not be too surprising to Tuzos Femenil fans, as Salazar has a been a longtime sturdy option, with the club since Clausura 2019 and a regular starter through the years.
Salazar proudly pointed at the Pachuca crest on her kit after scoring, slipping the ball low past Alex Godínez. Her goal was assisted by Corral.
Pachuca struggled with consistency throughout the regular season. Facing the top-ranked team is no easy feat, and that showed especially at home with both sides going scoreless. América is going to keep a close eye on Corral and Hermoso, so the goal from Salazar should bolster Pachuca’s confidence, showing that there are other players capable of scoring for their side.
Sub-18: Toluca defeats América in Final
Congratulations are in order for Toluca Femenil’s Sub-18 side for defeating Club América Sub-18 in penalty kicks for the league title. Which players could we see soon in Liga MX Femenil’s senior league?
What’s Next? Liga MX Femenil Gran Final
The Liga MX Femenil Gran Final will be played on Friday, June 2, and Monday, June 5. Pachuca will host Leg 1, as the lower-ranked team, and Club América will host Leg 2. Kickoff for both matches is 10pm ET.
Matches will be available on ViX. International viewing is TBD.