NEW YORK — Despite falling to Juventus 1-0 in a Herbalife World Football Challenge match at Citi Field on Tuesday night, Club América showed why they’ve earned their reputation as one of Mexico’s top teams, dominating much of the run of play in a close contest against the Italian giants.
It took a sublime effort from Cristian Pasquato near the halftime whistle — and after a 36-minute rain and lightning storm delay — to give the Bianconeri the win. But even though they lost, las Águilas left content with the effort they put in.
“I think it was a good game,” said América manager Carlos Reinoso after the game. “Unfortunately, the game was stopped … and that made us lose our rhythm. But I think that the team went toe-to-toe with Juventus.”
For much of the match, it was the Águilas who owned the sphere. And while the defense mostly held up and the midfield did their part, it was in the attack in which they faltered. América had finished with 13 attempts, but only two of those were on target, including a Christian Benítez chance that Juve ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon did well to stone.
“I think the way we controlled possession, which is what matters most,” he added. “We always had control of the ball. We didn’t score, but I liked how my team played and I liked the match.”
Reinoso made a multitude of changes to his starting lineup after América kicked off the Apertura 2011 campaign with a win on Sunday. He inserted eight new players into the starting XI against Juventus and was impressed with how his defensive unit held up against a team the likes of the Bianconeri.
“We stood firm in the back against a team that comes out strong,” said Reinoso. “We also had a lot of scoring chances — just like they did. They took advantage of error we made and scored.”
Just like their coach, the players walked away happy with the performance they put in against the most decorated team in Italy.
“We played them on even terms,” Benítez told FutbolMLS.com. “It’s a game that helps us prepare in every sense, and we really played a good game. Aside from the goal they scored, we also had various chances. But I’m happy because we played a good game … and it’s not always that you get to play against a team as big as [Juventus].”
Now it’s on to the next one for América. The Mexican giants will head back to Mexico to play an away game at Toluca on Sunday. Following their league match, the Águilas will return to the States to close up the World Football Challenge against Spanish giants Barcelona in Arlington, Texas, on Aug. 6 (4 pm ET; ESPN, ESPN Deportes).