Chivas With The Beat Down.By: Mauro | August 4th, 2010
Well, the men have definitely separated from the boys in the first semifinal of the Copa Libertadores. Unfortunately for us South American purists, Chivas showed how men play this game and have placed themselves in the final of this South American competition in resounding fashion and brimming with confidence.
Far from being their biggest fan and, in all honesty, I’ve never been one to extoll the virtues of Club Deportivo Guadalajara, much less the entirety of the Mexican league, but it’s with a heavy heart that I say, they won me over last night and made watching them pick apart U de Chile an absolute pleasure.
With excellent marking in the midfield and then exploding on offense with Omar Bravo (mourning the loss of his father), Marco Fabian, Xavier Baez and Adolfo Bautista playing like a PlayStation versions of themselves. Chivas played with a cool, calm collectedness. They played like, dare I say it, champions. A team who knew how the match would end and had complete faith in one another and belief that they could do what they wanted and attempted.
Despite losing budding star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and a few other players, riding a crazy wave of friendlies (including vs. Manchester United in recent weeks) playing in a packed house on an opening night (after renovations) in Santiago, Chile, with all those airplane miles on their backs, Chivas came out and dominated the match from end to end. Don’t kid yourselves here, this was no small feat.
This result and campaign in this competition is also a huge reward to the club. Most of these players were groomed and taught the Chivas system and style in their own youth divisions with the single exception of Adolfo Bautista, who came from Tecos.
I wish I could say that U de Chile was a weaker team and that they weren’t the side that should have made it to the semi-finals because as a South American, it hurts to see a Mexican side best one of “our” sides but like I said, if you haven’t seen the match, I highly recommend you do so. It was a great showing of team football.
It’s not like U de Chile just showed up, they tried to implement their game, but Chivas did well to cut passing lanes and mark players correctly, forcing them to resort to trying to best Chivas’ players technically. Many times, I saw Montillo and Iturra dribbling the ball past Chivas players only to be met by another or forced into making a poor pass after outdribbling a Mexican player. Soon, it seemed each time a U de Chile player got the ball, he was the loneliest player on the pitch with no one to pass to.
Final score on this one: Chivas 2-0. I had this one going 2-0 the other way but only because I was skeptical whether or not Chivas could get it together under the circumstances. That and the fact that I didn’t want to see a Mexican side qualify for the final match. But hey, like I said, they won me over and played some decisive football. Respect.
Chivas is only the second Mexican side to qualify for the Copa Libertadores final (Cruz Azul reached the 2001 final against Boca Juniors and were barely edged out by the Argentines) and it’s the first time for this Mexican side to reach this final match.
Tune in on Thursday for the 2nd semifinal where Inter travel to São Paulo to play the local side for a chance to meet the Mexicans in the final. I’ll be posting a preview of that match come Thursday.