MEXICO CITY - A horrific-looking injury to Giovani dos Santos overshadowed Club America's 4-1 victory over bitter rivals Chivas in Saturday's Liga MX Clasico Nacional.
America's Dos Santos was caught with a late and high challenge by Chivas defender Antonio Briseno in the 37th minute, with TV replays showing a deep gash in his right thigh. Briseno was confronted by America goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and was shown a red card, while for LA Galaxy forward Dos Santos was taken immediately to hospital for evaluation.
The club announced early on Sunday that a injury to the bone has been discounted, with Dos Santos set to undergo surgery. He's estimated to be out for six weeks.
"I'm worried that they will punish 'Pollo' Briseno with a lot of games," admitted Chivas' debutant coach Luis Fernando Tena in a news conference after the game. "He's always plays on impulse, it is obvious it wasn't intentional, he's very sorry."
Dos Santos' El Tri teammate Ochoa visited Dos Santos in hospital straight after the game, but was caught up in a separate scandal when photos emerged of the goalkeeper appearing to spit towards Briseno after the tackle, although the keeper denied it.
"I never spat," wrote Ochoa on Twitter.
America went into the game off the back of six games without a victory, while Chivas were down in 15th in the Liga MX, but it was home side Las Aguilas that took the initiative and the lead in Estadio Azteca.
A swift counter-attack started by Dos Santos eventually led to Francisco Sebastian Cordova handing America a deserved lead in the 18th minute.
Chivas fielded a back five and were comfortable sitting back, with the team's first meaningful attempt coming from Alan Pulido in the 32nd minute.
The injury to Dos Santos saw America's players urging the medical staff onto the field and some looked shaken, but the 2018 Apertura champion doubled its lead in first half injury time, with midfielder Cordova again finding the finish from inside the penalty area.
Chivas, even with 10 players, came into the game early in the second half and pulled a goal back through Pulido in the five minutes after the break.
Henry Martin wrapped up the scoring in the 89th minute from a corner.
The win moved America up into third in the league table, with Chivas now in 16th.