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Atlas edges Veracruz 4-3 on last-minute goal

American defender Omar Gonzalez scored a goal in second-half stoppage time to give Atlas a 4-3 victory over Veracruz in the Mexican soccer league’s Apertura championship.

Atlas finally got its offence going on Friday night at Jalisco Stadium against the worst defensive team in the Liga MX, scoring as many goals as it had in the previous 12 matches, reports Efe.

Veracruz forward Cristian Menendez opened the scoring in just the third minute after receiving a pass from the right side from midfielder Diego Chavez.

The teams then traded goals on a pair of penalty conversions, with Atlas’ Andres Andrade scoring in the 16th minute (two minutes after Jefferson Duque had squandered a penalty chance for the home side) and Bryan Carrasco making the score 2-1 in minute 34.

Andrade’s goal came after a penalty was awarded via the VAR system, used for the first time in the Mexican league on Friday.

Atlas tied the score at 2-2 before halftime when Duque headed home a pass from outside the area from Ricky Alvarez in the 41st minute.

Early in the second half, Veracruz’s beleaguered defence (25 goals allowed in 12 matches heading into Friday night’s game) suffered a further setback when Jesus Paganoni was sent off in the 65th minute.

Atlas took advantage almost immediately, taking its first lead of the game when Juan Pablo Vigon headed a pass from Clifford Aboagye into the back of the net.

The home side seemed to have the game under control, but Veracruz tied the game once again on a short-handed goal by Menendez in the 82nd minute.

Atlas managed, however, to earn just its second win of the Apertura championship when Gonzalez headed the ball home off a corner kick two minutes into second-half stoppage time.

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had moved far off his line on the play and was in no position to make a save.

Despite the victory, Atlas remains in last place in the Apertura with eight points.

Veracruz is second-to-last with nine points and now is last in Mexico’s complicated relegation table, falling behind Lobos BUAP.

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