Pavone scores twice, Cruz Azul wins 2-1 in Dallas
Mariano Pavone scored two goals, and nearly had a couple more, to lead Cruz Azul to a 2-1 victory over Club America Wednesday night in a Mexican First Division preseason exhibition at the Cotton Bowl.
After Christian Benitez gave Club America a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute, the newcomer from Lanus in Argentina struck back with goals in the 27th and 35th minutes.
Pavone also had another apparent goal called back by an offside call in the 20th minute and was victimized by a spectacular hand save by Club America goalkeeper Hugo Duran in the 43rd.
He was substituted out of the match in the 69th minute.
Cruz Azul goalkeeper Yosgart Gutierrez made spectacular diving saves on Paul Rojas in the 52nd minute and on Adrian Rodriguez in the 57th.
Cruz Azul, working in a number of new players in addition to Pavone, not to mention new coach Guillermo Vazquez, controlled the action for much of the first half, but found itself trailing 1-0 in the 24th minute on a pretty goal by Benitez.
After Jesus Molina fed a pass from deep on the left side of the box, Benitez lifted a 5-yard chip shot over Gutierrez and off the underside of the crossbar.
It took Cruz Azul just three minutes to tie it, though, after Pavone slipped behind the America defense, received a nice long lead ball from Gerardo Flores, and slotted a low 15-yard shot past Duran into the left side of the net.
Pavone struck again eight minutes after that on a seemingly innocent play, as Alejandro Vela was repelled by the Club America defense several yards inside the penalty area. But Vela backtracked and fed the ball to Pavone five yards outside the area for a low shot that rolled just beyond the diving Duran inside the left post.
Pavone nearly recorded the hat trick, but Duran made an outstanding stop in the 43rd minute. Pavone's 5-yard shot appeared ticketed for the upper left corner, but Duran came up with a leaping, lunging hand save, knocking it just wide of the left post.
With just one pre-season contest remaining before the Apertura kicks off, both teams utilized what projects as their starting lineups for the first 60 minutes before a flurry of substitutions worked in most of the reserve players.