MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - America made light of the midweek departure of striker Raul Jimenez to Atletico Madrid when they beat Morelia 3-2 to continue with their maximum points start to the Mexican championship.
Jimenez’s fellow Mexico World Cup striker Oribe Peralta scored two minutes into added time at the Azteca on Saturday to give America their fifth consecutive win, keeping them top of the Apertura table with 15 points.
Coach Antonio Mohamed was not entirely happy, though, saying there were lessons to be learnt from failing to close out the match earlier.
“I’m happy with the team’s form but what happened today must serve as a lesson when we thought the match was settled, under control, and it wasn’t,” the Argentine said.
America were 2-1 up after 56 minutes with goals from Paraguay defender Pablo Aguilar and Argentine-born midfielder Rubens Sambueza after an equalizer by Colombian Duvier Riascos.
Morelia, whose goalkeeper Carlos Rodriguez made a string of fine saves praised by Mohamed, came back into the match with a second equalizer from Argentine David Depetris in the 76th minute making the score 2-2.
“We made the mistake of thinking the match was over with a 2-1 lead and we didn’t go for 3-1,” Mohamed said.
Club World Cup-bound CONCACAF champions Cruz Azul, on the other hand, have a finishing problem and were beaten 3-1 at Monterrey whose Colombian striker Dorlan Pabon scored a hat-trick.
“The team are playing well, except for their finishing, which of course is important,” said the Blue Machine’s coach Luis Fernando Tena, whose side have five points.
America’s Mexico City arch-rivals UNAM Pumas are also in early-season trouble and sacked coach Jose Luis Trejo on Friday after a fourth successive defeat.
Pumas, who began the championship with a win, lost 2-1 away to champions Leon on Thursday and are now two from bottom with three points.
Former Mexico forward David Patino, who played for Pumas from 1986-93, was named caretaker.
Atlas, the only other unbeaten team, kept pace two points behind America after a penalty by Paraguayan Luis Caballero gave them a 1-0 win over promoted UG Leones Negros (black lions).
Argentine forward Dario Benedetto scored twice to give Tijuana a 2-1 home win over Chiapas at the border town’s Caliente stadium.
Guadalajara, with four points from three matches and a game in hand, are at home to Santos Laguna at the Omnilife on Sunday.
(Additional reporting by Carlos Calvo; Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Pritha Sarkar)