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Liga MX roundup: Jesus Corona hands Cruz Azul untraditional win with last-second penalty save (video)

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Liga MX’s last set of games for the foreseeable future took place on Sunday, with Atlas, Santos and Cruz Azul taking home three points. There’s no timeline on Mexico’s top-flight’s suspension due to the coronavirus, but its last impression was one worth witnessing. Here’s a closer look into some of Sunday’s closed-door action.

Club America 0-1 Cruz Azul

It’s nearly impossible to think of a time in which Cruz Azul didn’t get the short end of the stick against America, specifically with Jesus Corona in goal. There’s a reason why there’s a verb based around La Maquina’s miseries (most of which have come at inopportune times with Corona between the sticks): cruzazulear. For a second, it seemed like history was going to repeat itself on Sunday in front of an uninhabited Estadio Azteca.

Then, Corona delivered this:

In a night in which Guillermo Ochoa made case after case that he was the better goalkeeper between the two, 39-year-old Corona delivered one of his best acts against the rivals, blocking Emanuel Aguilera’s shot from the spot seconds before time expired.
The first half was all blue, as La Maquina heavily emphasized going forward, resulting in a handful of chances at goal that were denied by Ochoa. Santiago Gimenez, less than a minute into the game, saw his driving cross travel inches from America’s goal.
America, inspired by Ochoa’s heroics, recouped their shape in the second half, dominating possession and the tempo of the game. Even so, the league’s leading scorer, Jonathan Rodriguez, was able to find room inside the box and deliver a trademark strike past America’s No. 6, increasing his goal count to nine.
Cruz Azul were the superior team, and the scoreboard was finally showing it.
But in a way, Corona’s save gave Roberto Siboldi’s side – once again leaders of the league with 22 points – perhaps their biggest win of the season, and proved that things don’t always go bad for Cruz Azul.
Elsewhere in Liga MX
Toluca 2-3 Atlas
Santos Laguna 2-1 Necaxa

FOLLOW LIVE: Liga MX tripleheader as league considers next steps

Liga MX
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A trio of closed-door matches in Liga MX kicks off at 2 p.m. ET when Toluca hosts Club Atlas, and it may be the last match day of the clausura for some time.

[ FOLLOW: Liga MX scoreboard ]

The visitors sit second-bottom and would close to within a point of 15th-place Toluca with a win at Nemesio Díez Stadium.

AS is reporting that Liga MX may suspend the season at the end of the Clasico Joven on Sunday, though there are also considerations of moving Matchday 11 up to midweek.

Liga MX ordered all matches behind closed doors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Later on, Necaxa can jump from 14th place into 10th with a win over hosts Santos Laguna.

The day finishes with an incredibly tasty match-up between Club America and Cruz Azul.

America can pass its visitors for second place with all three points, while Cruz Azul can leapfrog Club Leon for first place with a victory.

Sunday’s Liga MX schedule

Toluca v. Club Atlas — 2 p.m. ET
Santos Laguna v. Necaxa — 8 p.m. ET
Club America v. Cruz Azul — 10:15 p.m. ET

CCL wrap: Atlanta United, Cruz Azul advance

CONCACAF Champions League
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The underdogs did not have their days on Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

MLS side Atlanta United and Liga MX mainstays Cruz Azul cruised to second legs win at home to clinch places in the quarterfinals.

Cruz Azul 4-0 (6-1 agg.) Portmore United

Bringing a pair of away goals from Jamaica, the Liga MX hosts just needed to put this one on ice early.

Orbelin Pineda did that in the 22nd minute, and Cruz Azul struck thrice in the second half to win in a landslide.

Atlanta United 3-0 (4-1 agg.) Montagua

It was all about the Martinezes in Georgia, as Pity sandwiched a pair of goals around Josef’s 61st minute tally to send the Five Stripes into the next stage.

All the goals showed calm under pressure, but Pity’s first was gorgeous football. He also assisted Josef’s goal in Honduras during the first leg.

Remaining Round of 16 second legs

NYCFC v. San Carlos (5-3) — 6 p.m. Wednesday
Montreal Impact v. Deportivo Saprissa (2-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tigres UANL v. Alianza (1-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Club America v. Comunicaciones (1-1) — 10 p.m. Wednesday
Seattle Sounders v. Olimpia (2-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday
LAFC v Leon (0-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday

CONCACAF Champions League wrap: Atlanta draws, LAFC falls

CONCACAF Champions League
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The CONCACAF Champions League began the knockout rounds on Wednesday, with some eyebrow-raising games that nonetheless yielded very few surprises in results.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liga MX sides Leon and Cruz Azul won their matches, while Josef Martinez scored an equalizer for Atlanta United as perceived underdogs Montagua joined Portmore United in putting up solid home displays.

Leon 2-0 LAFC

Jean Meneses’ goal in the 21st minute put the Liga MX side in front of an impressive traveling crowd for a second-year team, and Bob Bradley‘s side was sloppy but limited further damage until a deflating 88th-minute goal from Angel Mina.

Portmore United 1-2 Cruz Azul

A strong display from Portmore United saw the Jamaicans take a 74th-minute lead through Rondee Smith, but La Maquina showed its mettle with goals in the fourth and ninth minutes of stoppage time to take a lead and two away goals.

Montagua 1-1 Atlanta United

The Honduran side took a 33rd-minute advantage, but the Martinez boys equalized within two minutes when Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez and Josef Martinez sliced through the heart of the Montagua defense.

Josef doesn’t miss many of these:

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.