Liga MX Wrap: Cruz Azul thump Monterrey
Monterrey have been brought back down to earth following their CONCACAF Champions League triumph with a 5-1 loss to Cruz Azul in Liga MX.
Argentine striker Mariano Pavone completed a second-half hat-trick for Cruz Azul as they pulled the home side apart, just four days after Monterrey had claimed a third-straight CONCACAF Champions League title.
The result left Monterrey in ninth position on the Liga MX table, while Cruz Azul picked up their fifth-consecutive victory in the Mexican league to rise to fifth in the standings at the end of the Clausura season.
However, Monterrey will play in the playoffs, where they will meet archrivals Tigres UANL, after eighth-placed Queretaro were relegated based on the combined points earned in the Apertura and Clausura seasons.
Cruz Azul hit the front in the 21st minute on Saturday when Teofilo Gutierrez burst into the box to thump a loose ball home and the visitors doubled their lead thanks to Luis Perea's header from a 35th-minute corner.
Pavone made it 3-0 just before the hour mark when he cut in from the right wing score at the near post but Monterrey hit back soon after through Cesar Delgado.
Any hopes of a Monterrey comeback were ended in the 71st minute, however, when Pavone scuffed a shot which bobbled into the net.
The 30-year-old Argentine completed his hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining at Monterrey's Estadio Tecnologico with a close-range volley after a corner was headed back across goal by a teammate.
Tigres UANL moved to the top of Liga MX with a 2-0 victory over former leaders America, thanks to second-half goals from Danilinho and Lucas Lobos, while Atlas remain third on the table after a shock 1-0 loss to 15th-placed Leon.
America will take on Pumas UNAM in the quarter-finals of the Liga MX playoffs, while Atlas play Santos Laguna.
Pumas UNAM ensured they enter the playoffs in good form, claiming their fourth win in five matches with a 2-1 victory away to Atlante, while Santos Laguna lost 2-1 to Morelia, who are up against Cruz Azul in the quarter-finals.
In Tijuana, the home side extended Club Guadalajara's losing streak to six matches with a 4-0 thrashing, while Queretaro lost 3-2 at home to Puebla.
In other Liga MX results, Jaguares defeated Pachuca 2-1 and San Luis knocked off Toluca 1-0.