Guadalajara celebrate with dramatic fightback

May 8, 2006

MEXICO CITY, May 8 (Reuters) - Guadalajara, missing six Mexican internationals and trailing 3-2 from the home leg, won 4-2 at Chiapas on Sunday to qualify for the Clausura championship semi-finals.

Mexico's most popular team scored twice in the last 10 minutes despite having a player sent off to win 6-5 on aggregate on the day the club celebrated their centenary.

Chiapas made the perfect start on a steamy afternoon in Tuxtla Gutierrez when Argentine Walter Jimenez broke away to score after only 22 seconds.

But Guadalajara, who are also into the last eight of the Libertadores Cup and were playing their third game in six days, refused to lie down.

Edwin Borboa levelled in the 23rd minute after outwitting Melvin Brown, and Diego Martinez gave them the lead nine minutes later, playing a one-two with Borboa and firing past Omar Ortiz.

Chiapas regained the aggregate lead when Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas won and converted a penalty in the 52nd minute. But the Jaguars sat back and paid the price in a dramatic last 10 minutes.

Adolfo Bautista won and converted a penalty in the 83rd minute and, although he was sent off a minute later, the Chivas stole a stoppage-time winner when Johnny Garcia found himself unmarked in the area.

Mexico named a provisional 26-man World Cup squad on April 2 and Guadalajara, who field only Mexican players, have been hardest hit by the agreement to release the selected players for a training camp.

TOLUCA QUALIFY

Pachuca, Toluca and San Luis joined Guadalajara in the semi-finals.

Pachuca, who had the best record in the qualifying stage, beat nine-man Morelia 3-1 for a 4-3 aggregate win.

Uruguayan Richard Nunez opened the scoring in the second minute and had a penalty saved by Moises Munoz three minutes later as Pachuca made a flying start.

Paraguay striker Nelson Cuevas added a second two minutes before halftime and Luis Angel Landin made it 3-0 for the Beavers before the hour.

Morelia had Argentines Cristian Nasuti and Damian Alvarez sent off in the last half hour and Colombian Luis Gabriel Rey scored a consolation.

Defending champions Toluca, coached by Argentina's 1978 World Cup midfielder America Gallego, held out for a 1-1 draw at Cruz Azul to qualify 3-2 on aggregate.

Ismael Valadez fired Toluca ahead in the seventh minute and Miguel Sabah's 89th-minute equaliser was too late for the Blue Machine, who have made a habit of falling in the knockout stages.

San Luis, who narrowly avoided relegation last week, held on a for a goalless draw at Atlante to qualify 1-0 on aggregate.

Relegation in Mexico is decided by a separate standings decided over three seasons, and although San Luis finished second in their group in the Clausura championship, they were near the bottom of the relegation table.

San Luis escaped the drop by the skin of their teeth after beating Atlas 2-1. They would not have been allowed to play in the knockout stages if they had been relegated.