Ecuador-Spain friendly stopped in 11th minute to honor Christian Benitez


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Two weeks after the tragic passing of Christian Benitez due to cardiorespiratory arrest, the Ecuadorian national team took the field again for a friendly against Spain. To pay tribute to the prolific former Club America striker, both teams halted play in the 11th minute as fans cheered the memory of their former Number 11.

In addition, Ecuador’s players took the field with black ribbons sewed onto their jerseys, with some wearing shirts depicting an image of Benitez. One player, as you can see in the video, even had “Chucho,” Benitez’s nickname, shaved in his head. A giant Benitez jersey was also unfurled in the stands, inscribed with hundreds, if not thousands of messages and signatures.

It’s one of those moments that truly transcend the sport, and you could see both the anguish and pride of the Ecuadorians as they took a minute to honor one of their own:

Rest in peace, Christian.


Liga MX Liguilla: Cruz Azul take 1-0 lead over Club America


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By Kyle McCarthy

Cruz Azul claimed a 1-0 victory over bitter rivals Club América in the first leg of the Liguilla final on Thursday night, but the modest margin between the teams leaves both sides with a chance to lift the trophy.

Both sides failed to hit their best in a bland affair hindered by the rainy and slippery conditions at Estadio Azul and tempered by the looming second leg at Estadio Azteca on Sunday night.

América manager Miguel Herrera played his part in removing some of the excitement by naming a conservative side (the usual 5-3-2 setup with the now customary pair of holding midfielders) and telling his players to keep the match as narrow as possible inside their own half. The approach worked for the most part with in-form winger Pablo Barrera only a fleeting influence on the proceedings.

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