Maradona leads Dorados to Mexican Second-Division final

Diego Maradona, the coach of Mexico's Sinaloa Dorados, holds a press conference on Nov. 24, 2018, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. EFE-EPA/Hector Dayer

Diego Maradona, the coach of Mexico’s Sinaloa Dorados, holds a press conference on Nov. 24, 2018, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. EFE-EPA/Hector Dayer


Maradona’s famous “Hand of God,” which scored against England in the 1986 Mexico World Cup , has been on the tiller of the Sinaloa Dorados in recent months, guiding the team to the Second-Division final in the second-most-important soccer tourney in Mexico.

It’s not as if he’s had the Midas touch, where literally “everything” he’s touched has turned to gold, but it’s been close enough for most Dorados fans.

Before Maradona took over the squad, the Dorados had not managed to notch a win in their first six matches in the Apertura tourney, racking up three ties and three losses, but the Argentine’s arrival was a turning point.

Maradona’s arrival in Mexico came amid doubts about what his contribution could be to a team on the downswing and which seemed to be lacking the winning spirit, and although many people figured he’d provide motivation for the players others doubted his ability to have much of an influence.

But in the 12 matches that the Argentine has coached, he has proven that he’s got that “certain something” and the Dorados have won eight, tied two and lost two.

One of those defeats came on Saturday, when Maradona’s squad was beaten by FC Juarez 1-0 in the second leg of their semifinals series but advanced to the finals anyway with a 2-1 aggregate because they had triumphed 2-0 in the first leg last Wednesday.

“It’s the first time that I have marvelous players. Well, I had them before, but these are special because they’ve taken to heart every word I’ve said to them,” Maradona said after the match.

Now, the soccer icon and his Dorados are one step away from the title, the contenders for which will be decided after the other semifinal is resolved on Sunday between Atlante and Atletico San Luis, the latter of which has an advantage after its 3-0 win in the first leg last Thursday.

Not yet knowing which team will be its rival, the Dorados, with Maradona at the helm, nevertheless will go into the final as the favorites because of the strides they’ve been making.

The winner of the Second Division’s 2018 Apertura tournament will move into Mexico’s First Division for the 2019 season.