The 2014 Clausura Semi Finals are now clear after Toluca and Pachuca completed what were slightly more straight-forward ties than those played on Saturday. The regular season’s second best side, Toluca, endured some shaky moments but swept aside Tijuana, who after a goalless first leg, were always going to find it difficult given their record on the road. Later, a Pachuca side inspired by Clausura top scorer, Enner Valencia defeated Pumas. The Ecuadorian’s hat trick contributed to a 4-2 away win and completes the Semi Final lineup.
Toluca 3 – 1 Tijuana
Los Xolos have been so poor away from the Estadio Caliente that a result from Toluca was always likely to be a tough ask, but after drawing level there were some nervy moments for the hosts.
Antonio Ríos blasted Toluca in front from long range and despite being the more dangerous side,Los Diablos Rojos were unable to build on their lead. In fact, Tijuana appeared unfazed by their opponents and their own dismal away form and just minutes after the break, Dario Benedetto nodded in a crucial equaliser and away goal.
With the game delicately poised a couple of crucial minutes at either end decided the outcome. First, Benedetto blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy and minutes later Toluca led, as Cirilo Saucedo was unable to keep out Miguel Ponce low drive.
Having to push the game, Los Xolos were left susceptible to the counter and after also going down to 10 men with Dario Pellerano being shown a second yellow card, Édgar Benítez wrapped up the game.
Pumas 2 – 4 Pachuca
Making amends for his missed penalty in the first leg, Enner Valencia ensured that Pachuca would be in the Semi Final with a wonderful hat trick against Pumas.
Valencia provided the early breakthrough with a tidy turn and finish in the 12th minute but this was quickly cancelled out and in spectacular fashion. A Pumas corner from the left was headed down to Efrain Velarde 30 yards from goal and his left foot shot flew into the top corner to level the tie.
Valencia once again was on hand to put Pachuca back in front only for José Van Rankin to rifle in another equaliser. The away goal rule now meant that Pumas needed to win the match outright and it left them vulnerable to a red hot Valencia.
Minutes after the break, Valencia completed his hat trick when he curled in a free kick from an unlikely angle and beat Alejandro Palacios at his near post.
Pumas needed a reaction but within 5 minutes they needed a miracle when Hugo Rodríguez capitalised on some generous defending to head home in acres of space and give a tw0-goal cushion.
Pachuca comfortably held on and were even able to afford a Walter Ayovi missed penalty and so they will meet Santos Laguna in the other Semi Final.