Thursday, January 14, 2010
Herculez Gomez and Puebla fell agonizingly short of claiming a Copa Libertadores berth with a defeat at the hands of Estudiantes in the Interliga final on Wednesday evening.

Gomez came on as a substitute in the 65th minute but was unable to help Puebla counter Estudiantes' late surge.

A solid crowd filled the Home Depot Center in Carson, California to watch the Mexican rivals square off and they would see Puebla jump out to an early lead behind a fourth minute goal by Alejandro Acosta who headed home a shot right by the penalty spot.

Thirty minutes later it looked as if the Camoteros would double their lead when Estudiantes was whistled for a penalty but Luis Miguel Noriega's effort from the spot was easily detained by Tecos goalkeeper Mario Rodriguez.

Puebla would add a second goal just two minutes after halftime when Nicolas Oliveira scored off a counterattack.

But the final 40 minutes belonged to Estudianted who cut into the lead in the 51st Rodrigo Ruiz slammed home a shot into the left side of the net.

Fourteen minutes later Gomez made his way onto the field and nearly scored with a shot at goal from the right side of the box in the 69th minute which required a last second swat by Rodriguez.

The final 10 minutes would prove to be a nightmare for Gomez and company as Estudianted tied things up in th 80th minute when the five-foot four-inch Ruiz was able to head in a center amid the taller Puebla defense.

With just one minute left in regular time, Rubens Sambueza scored the game-winner for Tecos when he gathered in a pass and rifled a shot into the back of the net to earn the Jalisco a club a date against Juan Aurich of Peru in the final qualifying stage of the Copa Libertadores.

Gomez and Puebla will try to pick up the pieces this weekend against Edgar Castillo and Tigres in week one of the Clausura.

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