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11/30 9:00pm
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Western Conference Championship
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11/23 FINAL
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Eastern Conference Championship

Gringo Report: Ponce, Guadalajara ousted from playoffs

The last American standing in the Mexican Primera División playoffs went down on Sunday.

Miguel Ángel Ponce and Guadalajara were ousted from the Clausura 2011 liguilla following a 2-0 defeat in the second leg of their semifinal series against Pumas UNAM. The shutout ran the aggregate total to 3-1 in favor of Pumas.

Los Rojiblancos dominated for most of the first half but failed to find the net. For that, they would be punished, as Javier Cortés buries a free kick in the 42nd minute to give Pumas the lead.

Ponce, who started at left back, was subbed out in the 62nd minute to give way to midfielder Jorge Enríquez.

Thirteen minutes later, as Chivas sent numbers forward in search of the tying goal, Pumas took advantage and finished off a counter to double their lead and seal the match, eliminating Chivas from the playoffs.

A flight below, in the Liga de Ascenso, Joe Corona and Tijuana failed capture the Clausura 2011 title with a narrow 1-0 loss to ex-Chicago Fire Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Irapuato on Saturday. The result ran the aggregate score to 2-1 in favor of los Freseros.

Playing away, los Xoloitzcuintles gambled on resisting and thwarting the home side’s attack. While it worked for the first half, Irapuato kept chipping away at the defensive wall set up by Tijuana until, with four minutes left in regulation, José Cruz Gutiérrez found a crack and buried the winner.

The defeat not only gave Irapuato the crown, but it also set up a two-legged playoff between Tijuana — the Apertura 2010 champs — and Irapuato to decide the team that will achieve promotion. Dates and times are yet to be determined.

Xolos, who accumulated the most points between the two sides in both tournaments combined, will host the second leg of the series.

Finally, in Colombian Liga Postobón play, Diego Restrepo watched from the bench as América de Cali fell 3-0 to Real Cartagena.

The loss dropped América down to 10th place in the table, making the final match of the season a must-win for los Diablos Rojos if they are to be among the top eight that qualify for the playoffs.