FC Juarez suffered its third defeat of the 2021 Apertura season losing to Club America by the score of 2-1 Wednesday night at home. While it won’t be found anywhere in the official stats, the biggest assists of the night go to referee Luis Enrique Santander and the officiating crew in the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) booth.

On Wednesday evening during my call in to Sportstalk, host Steve Kaplowitz asked why America is the most hated team in Mexican soccer? I gave the most eloquent professional answer I could give. I won’t do that after the events that went down at Benito Juarez Olympic Stadium.

Alvaro Avila

The reason Club America is the most hated team in Mexico is because the team owned by Televisa, who has an overwhelming influence in the Mexican Soccer Federation, can attribute a significant amount of their success to questionable officiating calls going in their favor over the course of their 100+ year history.

Last night was no exception, this time at the expense of the Bravos.

America’s Alvardo Fidalgo should have been sent off in the 14th minute when he pulled on Gabriel Mathias Fernandez for about 20 yards when Fernandez had nothing but an open space to go one-on-one with America goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Fidalgo pulled on the shirt, shorts and just about anything else he could get a hold of and did every except hop on Fernandez for a piggy back ride.

It was a sequence that could have arguably been a red card and bare minimum an easy yellow. Yet both cards stayed in Santander’s pocket. A decision that could have given the Bravos a one man advantage for the remaining 75 minutes of the match.

Alvaro Avila

The match would become one that was evenly disputed. In the 31st minute the Bravos would take the lead as they would catch the visiting team a little flat footed when play was renewed after a foul. A long ball would be sent into Fabian Castillo, Castillo would send a short low cross that was met by Martin Galvan who put the ball in the back of the net.

Alvaro Avila

The lead and joy for Bravos fans was short lived. Less than two minutes later America would tie the match when the team from Mexico City would attack down the left flank, a cross was delivered and met by Roger Martinez who would take his shot as the ball approached him, there was nothing goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez could do.

The first half ended with the score being 1-1

Alvaro Avila

The decision that robbed Bravos of at least one point came only two minutes into the second half. Once again it would be Fabian Castillo who would send in a lob pass into the goalbox. That pass was met by Gabriel Fernandez who simply pushed the ball in with his left foot.

The play would be reviewed by VAR (instant replay), it would be then when Santander and the crew in the VAR booth would decide to call back the goal. All of the video evidence showed there was no offsides anywhere in the play.

How that decision was made, we’ll never know.

The match winning goal for America came on a counterattack 5 minutes later. The goal was scored off of a header by Alvardo Fidalgo who met a cross coming from the right flank on the run.

Alvaro Avila

Fidalgo, a player that should have been sent off in the first 15 minutes of the match gave America the victory.

After the match, head coach for Juarez, Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti as usual didn’t think twice about giving the media his honest opinion regarding the match, in this case the performance of referee, Luis Enrique Santander.

Ferretti said, "Perhaps I can’t say that with the goal that was called back, that was a legitimate goal, we would have won the match. But I am disappointed by the entire situation. It was a goal that could have helped us settle in and give us more confidence to continue to execute our game plan in the second half. It’s very frustrating because most likely if the other team would have scored that goal, the way we did, I have no doubt that goal would have not been called back and counted for them (Club America)."

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