Club America fell to Toluca in the 2022 Liga MX Apertura semi final, losing 3-2 over two legs to be eliminated from contention. The Devils first triumphed 2-1, before drawing 1-1 at the Estadio Azteca on Saturday to secure their place in the final.
The second leg match saw chaos at the Coloso de Santa Ursula to close out the series.
The Mexico City side initially kicked off stronger, dominating throughout the first half before conceding in the 29th minute. Though they retaliated quickly with a goal of their own by Alejandro Zendejas just six minutes later, it wasn’t until late in the second half that America found themselves dangerous on the front foot again.
With time running out, Henry Martin made one last attempt in the 94th minute. The El Tri figure rocketed the ball past goalkeeper Tiago Volpi and into the back of the net to send Estadio Azteca into an absolute frenzy. But as good as the goal may have been, VAR ruled offside to halt celebrations.
America head coach Fernando Ortiz has since taken responsibility for the defeat, adding: “I blame myself.”
“Hurt, embarrassed, but with the tranquility that the players have left their souls on the field, this is football, the league is like that, it is a sporting failure, everything achieved in the season and not winning a title. I support it, that I am responsible for not winning, and this is how it is, making a quick analysis is difficult, I congratulate Toluca, Nacho and that’s it,” he said after the game.
“It is one of its strengths (the stopped ball) and we pay dearly, they have their weapons and we could not pull it off, here I am responsible for this sporting failure and not because I want to blame myself for something, we all know what it means not to achieve something in this institution.”
Despite falling in the semifinals, Tano Ortiz managed a historic season with Club America. He led the Mexico City side to their longest winning streak, and recorded the largest Liguilla win over any opponent when triumphing 11-2 over Puebla.
The head coach has one year left in his contract, hinting at a possible desire to stay with the team in the post match press conference.
“I have a one-year contract, I don’t know what to say, but the board will have to analyze it, it’s their problem, they’ll let me know and if not, I’ll continue to lead with the same passion…I want to continue, I’ve been in the project for 6 months, saying what we need is very early because there is still the pain of not achieving the goal.”
Club America now heads into the offseason, with months to prepare before the 2023 Liga MX Clausura kicks off on January 6th.