Pachuca reached the final of the Mexican First Division's Torneo Clausura playoffs by forfeit when semifinal rival Cruz Azul was expelled from the competition for using Salvador Carmona in the first leg of the semifinals on Thursday after being informed Carmona had been handed a lifetime ban for doping Wednesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
Carmona tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in June 2005 and was banned for a year by the Mexican federation. He tested positive a second time for the same substance on Jan. 31, 2006, but the Mexican federation disciplinary committee decided to nullify the second result because it mistakenly believed the B sample was destroyed. On appeal, Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency's request for a longtime ban.
Pachuca, which won the first leg, 3-1, away faces Club America in the final.
With a second-half goal by Ismael Rodriguez, America beat archrival Guadalajara for its second 1-0 victory and advance to the Mexican First Division finals, 2-0, on aggregate. Chivas had Mexico international Gonzalo Pineda sent off in the 27th minute.
Club America and Pachuca, the 2006 Torneo Clausura winner, in a two-match series on Friday and Sunday. America must play Santos of Brazil in the Libertadores Cup in Brazil on Wednesday.