Pachuca (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting Club America in a Liga MX Apertura match on November 19, 2016. (Photo: Luis Licona/Straffon Images)
PACHUCA, Mexico – Reigning Liga MX champion Pachuca wrapped up another successful regular season with a second-place finish in the 2016 Apertura following a 3-3 draw with visiting Club America on Saturday.
The Tuzos could have claimed the top spot with a win, but couldn’t capitalize on Club Tijuana’s 2-1 loss to host Veracruz. Regardless, Pachuca head coach Diego Alonso had no complaints and was pleased with what his side accomplished.
“The team spiritedly showed what it is capable of,” said Alonso. “So I cannot fault them for not ending as the league leader. Additionally, we have gone a year unbeaten at home. We are happy with the players, happy with the season and hopefully we can continue competing."
While Alonso acknowledged that finishing first was one of the team’s goals, he knew it was always going to be difficult to accomplish, especially with Club America in the way.
“It wasn’t a primary objective, but yes it was an objective," the Uruguayan commented. "We faced a great team. In addition, it was a great game. We played a great first half. It’s among the best matches we have played."
Franco Jara netted twice for Pachuca, including equalizer with four minutes left in normal time, after Michael Arroyo put Club America ahead, 3-2.
Up next for the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist is a trip to Necaxa for a quarterfinal, first-leg encounter on Thursday. In their only Apertura meeting on July 30, Pachuca won 1-0 at home on Stefan Medina’s first-half goal.
Despite a prolonged stretch of success, Alonso stressed that the Tuzos must maintain a humble mindset in order to progress.
“What I have made clear is that one should be humble, but have ambition, and ambition is what we have," he concluded. "In order to be able to earn things, one has to have feet on the ground. I feel like the team is strong."