I do know what nemesis means. In general, when I use the word I stray from Brick Top's definition. I think of a rival that cannot be beaten. Cruz Azul thinks of Morelia, and maybe more specifically their manager, Tomas Boy.
To say that the result of last week's first leg match between Cruz Azul and Morelia sickened me would be an understatement. Boy apparently told the 4th official that he was offended by something Fausto Pinto said, and Pinto was given the red card and ejected from the match. This bit of insanity had a direct and ultimately dramatic effect on the 2-1 lead Morelia would take with them to Estadio Azul this weekend. Cruz Azul had plenty of reason to already despise Boy and Morelia, but it had now been taken to another level.
Surely, Cruz Azul would come out on Saturday with vengeance on the mind, looking to strike back at this team that continues to give them fits. In the early going it looked as if this might be the case. Cruz Azul moved the ball well and continued to look to Javier "Pedroia" Aquino to drive the ball inside with his dangerous crosses. Tito Villa had a great chance at scoring in the 3rd minute, which he, for some reason, decided to bicycle kick ten yards to the left of goal. Cruz Azul would continue to get opportunities throughout the first half, but it was Morelia's skill and speed that would get them the 2-1 halftime advantage. The play of Gerardo Lugo was once again critical to the success of Morelia.
Down 2-1 at halftime and 4-2 in aggregate, meant that Cruz Azul would need to get two goals back before the final whistle to move on to the semifinals. Enrique Meza went with the "somewhat-ballsy" halftime substitution of taking off Villa for Perea. It does seem a little strange to take off your best scorer at the half when needing to make up a two goal deficit. However, if you saw the disgusting mess Villa was making of every opportunity in that first half, it made great sense to get him out of there. The problem is that Edixon "I can only head the ball" Perea isn't really an upgrade. Also, the most useless man on the field, Alejandro Vela, was still out there. It would have made more sense to double up with Perea and Villa up front to try to push for the needed goals.
Morelia wisely retreated even further into their shell in the second half. What little penetration Cruz Azul was able to muster in the first half had completely dried up. Cruz Azul had few scoring chances in the last half, and those that did come up were met with solid goal keeping from Steve Perry. The second half would remain scoreless. The home team looked lifeless and unable to put any real fear in the defensive minded Morelia.
The lack of hope in the 2nd half was accentuated in one minute of horribleness: Gerardo Flores (whose play has been dreadful this season) was brought on as the final substitute in the 70th minute and Gerardo Torrado got his second yellow card for a lazy, old man tackle a minute later. Down two goals and once again down a man (albeit a man who seemed unable to make any contribution to the match) the match was over early. It would have been wise to leave at that moment and beat the traffic out of the stadium, but I stupidly stuck around. What did I get for my loyal fandom? Twenty more minutes of lifeless play and having my phone pick pocketed on the way out of the stadium. A fitting end to the action at Estadio Azul that evening and the Apertura 2011 season for Cruz Azul.
Starting to wonder if Boy owns a pig farm.
Artwork by dr-barzak at dr-barzak.deviantart.com