C.F. Pachucadefeated FC Dallas 3-1 in a dramatic encounterat Estadio Hidalgo on Tuesday night. A series of three goals in the final 13 minutes of the match saw Pachuca edge the Texas side 4-3 on aggregate to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
FC Dallas Devastated at the Death in the CCL Semis
FC Dallas entered the match with a 2-1 aggregate lead. Kellyn Acosta scored a brilliant free kick winner in the 58th minute of the first leg to give the advantage to the MLS side. Pachuca was in disappointing domestic form coming into the match, recently falling down the Liga MX ranks from their first place position.
Pachuca dominated possession from the outset but produced few good chances in the early stages of the match. FC Dallas made occasional forays forward, probing for a counter-attacking opportunity. In the 24th minute, FC Dallas’ new number nine, Cristian Colmán, had a glorious chance to put the MLS side up a goal. He made a streaking run into the opposition half and Roland Lamah sent him through one-on-one with the keeper. Colmán put his head down and blasted a shot on target, but at a good height for Pachuca’s Alfonso Blanco, who saved comfortably.
Pachuca grew in confidence after the 30th minute and started to apply heavy pressure to the FC Dallas goal. Seitz made one brilliant save to keep the score level but couldn’t repeat the performance. In the 38th minute Jonathan Urretaviscaya served a skipping ball into the box. Franco Jara battled to the ball side of Walker Zimmerman with a near post run and nodded a header in from close range. The first half closed at 1-0 to Pachuca and 2-2 on aggregate, giving the Mexican side an advantage via their away goal.
The second half opened with a 15 minute period of measured play. FC Dallas should have scored in the 61st minute, when Kellyn Acosta drove to the byline and hammered a ball across the face of goal. Michael Barrios got a touch on the fizzing cross, but the ball drifted painfully wide of the post. As the half progressed, Pachuca became more conservative tactically and only ventured forward in small numbers.
In the 80th minute, Mexican international winger Hirving “Chucky” Lozano drifted in from the left side of Pachuca’s attack. He dribbled under little pressure and unleashed an accurate shot from outside the box. It beat Seitz’s outstretched hand and nestled into goal at the near post. Pachuca led 2-0 and 3-2 on aggregate.
Not to be outdone, Dallas found a goal and some hope just 7 minutes later. Following an uncertain punch by Pachuca’s keeper Alfonso Blanco, Carlos Gruezo served a lobbed ball back into Pachuca’s box. Cristian Colmán connected with it and his header sent the ball skipping into goal. FC Dallas had the away goal they needed and the match was level, 3-3 on aggregate.
Disaster struck FC Dallas just as the game inched toward the full time whistle. Hirving Lozano played a soft speculative cross into the box from Pachuca’s left. Victor Guzman crossed in front of goal in an attempt to connect with the cross. Guzman missed the ball, but his attempt froze Seitz and Lozano’s ball continued. It snuck into the bottom right corner of the goal to give Pachuca a lead in stoppage time. There was no time to recover for FC Dallas. Pachuca won 3-1 on the night and progressed 4-3 on aggregate.
CONCACAF Champions League Final
Pachuca had more possession and chances than FC Dallas over the course of the match, as one would expect them to have at Estadio Hidalgo. FC Dallas was not dramatically outplayed though. Óscar Pareja’s game plan was sound, and his team produced the counterattacking chances they needed to get a result. It was not meant to be though, and FC Dallas was eliminated in heart-wrenching fashion. Pachuca advances to the CONCACAF Champions League final where they will face the winner of Tigres UANL and the Vancouver Whitecaps in late April.