Herrera: America is in good shape despite poor 1st leg of Mexico soccer final


The head coach of Mexico City side Club America said his team is in a good position despite having played poorly in a scoreless draw against crosstown rival Cruz Azul in the first leg of the Mexican soccer league’s Apertura 2018 final.

“There’s still one 90-minute game left, and we’ll give it our all. We’re more alive than ever,” Miguel Herrera said after Thursday night’s contest at Estadio Azteca (the home ground for both clubs).

The first leg was marred by numerous fouls and saw relatively few forays into the opposing team’s area.

“We were in it even though we didn’t play a great match. The players looked to attack. We didn’t play as well as we could and came away with a so-so result, but we can do better,” he said.

Two of America’s Colombian players suffered injuries during the game - midfielder Mateus Uribe and forward Roger Martinez.

Herrera said both are important players but that his team has plenty of depth and will be able to find replacements.

The head coach, who was the Mexican national team’s manager at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, said the first leg was evenly matched and that both defenses allowed few opportunities for the opposing team’s forwards.

“These matches are like this, hard-fought. They did their job. I’m not interested in how they play. We need to be able to come out on top,” Herrera said.

The teams will meet again on Sunday for the second and final leg, which also will be played at Estadio Azteca.

America shares the record for most Mexican-league championships with arch-rival Guadalajara and is seeking to become the first club to win title No. 13, while Cruz Azul is looking to end a 21-year drought and capture its ninth championship.