America Vs. Cruz Azul: Second Leg of 2013 Mexican Clausura Championship Ends With Shootout As America Outlasts Cruz In Epic Finale; Recap

Club America
America won the club's 11th championship Sunday night, defeating Cruz Azul in a classic final. Twitter

A large majority of the offensive opportunities in the opening leg of the 2013 Mexican Clausura final may have gone in favor of 10-time champion Club America but that didn't disable Cruz Azul from converting the biggest play of the match last Thursday night.

As both teams looked to take an early advantage heading into Sunday's final leg, Cruz Azul made the most of their limited opportunities, most notably in the 19th minute.

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Watching their opponents dominate the opening minutes offensively, Cruz and Christian Gimenez notched the game's only goal on a beautiful header from the center of the box. The Cruz defense and keeper Jose Corona were brilliant from that point on, dodging an onslaught of opportunities from the extremely talented America offense.

With a one-goal advantage as the second leg began at the Estadio Azteca on Sunday, Cruz knew an early start would surely benefit them in the same way an early opening leg goal did 3 nights earlier.

Teofilo Gutierrez was the man who stepped up in a big way for the Cruz, blasting one through from the right side of the box, ultimately putting his Cruz squad up 1-0 in the second leg.

America evened the second leg at 1 late in the match, setting up an unbelievable final few minutes

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At the 89-minute mark, Aquivaldo Mosquera's header from the center of the box evened the second leg but America still trailed by a one-goal aggregate margin due to their loss in the opening contest.

As time continued to wind down, America - who finished second in regular-season points this year - needed some kind of magical play to keep their chances of winning a title alive.

When Alejandro Castro of Cruz Azul deflected a shot into his own goal in the third minute of stoppage time, America got the tally they needed as the balance of the game swung in their favor.

Through 180-plus minutes of combined action, America and Cruz were now all-square at 2 goals each thanks to a 1-0 opening leg win by Cruz and a 2-1 regulation advantage for America in the second leg.

Jose Corona stepped up in a big way on multiple occasions during overtime, stopping two golden opportunities from America at the 100 and 101-minute marks as he continued to do his part in keeping Cruz afloat with the match heading into a second overtime frame.

Much like they did in the opener, America completely controlled the offensive flow of the game, out-shooting their rivals 23-9 heading into the second overtime session.

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Although ample opportunities followed them throughout the overtime, America would only finish with only 2 goals through 120 total minutes of action as the second leg of the Liga MX final ended in dramatic fashion with a shootout.

Taking aim to start the shootout, Javier Penuelas was stopped by America goalie Moises Roriguez. Seconds later, America notched the first shoot-out goal with a right-footed score by Raul Jimenez.

Christian Benitez scored next time around for America as they quickly took a 2-goal PK advantage in the final following back-to-back Cruz misfires.

Needing to strike on their third attempt, Rogelio Martinez put the Blue and White on the board, but Osvaldo Martinez answered for America as the offensive explosion for one of the countries best teams continued as America converted their first three PK attempts.

Gerardo Flores knocked in the fourth attempt for Cruz but a goal from Miguel Layun next time around sealed the deal for Club America, as they took the championship with a dominant performance in kicks.

For the 11th time in their history thanks to strong offensive consistency, perfect shootout play and a little bit of late luck, Club America took down Cruz Azul in a final that will surely not be forgotten by soccer enthusiasts for a very long time.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS And Complete Shootout From Epic Final:

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Sports reporter covering the hot topics of the day in Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, Premier League, Spanish Primera League, Liga MX and others. I've also covered 2014 World Cup Qualifying and hosted interviews with high-profile athletes including Victor Cruz and Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants. In my spare time I work as a play-by-play announcer for MSG Networks and the Division I Northeast Conference. Graduate of Monmouth University with a B.A. in Applied Communication.