Pachuca Win Interliga Final Advance to Copa De Libredores!

Joe NixonCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2009

Pachuca's 2008 season saw them rise to place fourth at the FIFA Club World Championships in Japan. Pachuca's success (including a dramatic win) where without the services of

Edgar Benitz who due to FIFA rules was was ineligible for the Club FIFA despite signing with the team on December 1st.


The 21-year-old Benitz or "Pajaro" ("The Bird") whose nickname is earned due to his flight like top-speed made up for his abscene with an impressive performance in the 2009 Interliga. Benitiz continues to impress with his new club. In the service of Pachuca only since January 2nd, the Paraguyan forward has scored four goals in Interliga, two of them coming in this final match.


Both of his goals were set up by brilliant passing, his first goal set by a brilliant move on the outside by José María Cárdenas that saw him do a full 360, maintain possession and send a pass in for Benitz who shot it straight in at the '14 minute. Similarily, the '17 minute saw Benitiz getting great service from the opposite side.


At the 33rd minute, the Argentinian Christian Gimenz stuttered his stride and was tripped up, recovering just in time to sink one in, Proving once again why Gimenez is one of the great stars of Pachuca.


Pachuca, went into the half with a 3-0 lead that was deceivingly comfortable. The second half as Morelia refused to go down to the Tuzos easily.


Morelia conjured up goals despite only playing with 10 men after Lucas Ayala's was redcarded in the 45th minute. If anything the redcard, served to wake up the Morelia which until then had been dormant. In the 49' Gonzalo Vargas had a goalazo to put Morelia on the board. Leobardo Lopez committed an own goal in the 71' minute and in the 88' an 18-yard header looped into the net like a mortar shot.


Suddenly, the game was tied 3-3 with two minutes left. Pachuca had several momments in the final closing momments of the game to seal the deal. One shot banged painfully off the post and the entire Home Depot Center, groaned. Instead, they were forced into extra time. Interliga rules are meant to limit injuries and the game went instantly to shootouts.


Miguel Calero, the tall Columbian proved once again why he is Pachuca's captain. Calero stopped four shots in 13 rounds of penalty kicks and converted one penalty kick of his own.


In the evenings second game, the UNAL Tigres fell 4-2 to the resurgent Chivas of Guadlajara. Carlos Ochoa added two more goals to his Interliga 2009 total and ends up the leading scorer of the tournament.


Pachuca and Guadlajara join San Luis as Mexican invitees to the Copa De Liberdores, While it remains impossible for them to attend the FIFA Club World Champions at least next year that is because FIFA rules require that the Copa De Libredores representative to the FIFA Club World Championships not be a team from Mexico. For Pachuca, it may offer a chance to avenge their 2-0 defeat at the hands of LDU Quito, last month.