Week 5 wrap in Liga Bancomer MX
It was a weekend of games games games for me. Week 5 in Liga MX saw some action, and other games not so much, but it's never a dull moment in Mexican football. Here's my recap from the weekend and where each team currently stands.
Puebla 0-0 Veracruz at Estadio Cuauhtémoc
Puebla managed to hold Veracruz to a 0-0 draw, but the reason this match remained scoreless was thanks to the defensive effort Veracruz held throughout the match. Puebla created most of the chances and dominated in shots, which were mostly led by Matías Alustiza who accounted for half of their 18. Even with the scoreless draw, Veracruz remain at the top of LigaMX table boasting a 3-2-0 record on the season. Their leading scorer Angel Reyna Martinez – who also leads the league in goals with seven - lead his team in shots with four out of six. Puebla moved up in the standings to 15th, still winless with a 0-4-1 record.
Toluca 2-2 Santos Laguna at Estadio Nemesio Díez Riega
An action packed match which also ended in a draw, thanks to Carlos Esquivel who scored early in the game and sent a ball into Toluca’s Edy Brambila for a 90th minute equalizer. Toluca found themselves up a goal in the 14th minute when a ball played by Zinha met Esquivel, whose right footed shot landed in the bottom left corner of the net. Darwin Quintero came on for Santos in the 39th minute and made an impact with Oribe Peralta in shots, but it would be Javier Orozco to level for the Guerreros in the 66th minute from close range inside the six yard box. Not even 10 minutes later, Nestor Calderón sent a long range shot from a difficult angle into the area and netted Santos’ second of the game. Santos looked to have the game in the bag after that, but Esquivel served up Brambila who netted the equalizer. Santos has moved up to fourth place in the table at 2-2-0, while Toluca remain steady in 11th place with a 1-3-1 record.
León 0-0 Morelia at Estadio León
Confession: I was excited for this one, but I turned it off after about 20 minutes because I found it to be an absolute snooze-fest, so I’m relying on stats and a game reconstruction to write this. For a team boasting two forwards with star power, (Jefferson Montero and Hector Mancilla – second and third in the league in scoring, respectively) Morelia surprisingly did nothing in this match, which is probably why it ended scoreless. Still in second place on the season, now at 3-1-1, they actually trailed in possession. Federico Vilar had a good performance, making five saves and keeping a clean sheet to hold their place steady at second in the standings, but León are still undefeated and only a point behind them in third place at 2-3-0 with a goal differential of two. Leon also play Pumas next week, who have zero wins in five games (0-3-2). Morelia will take on Atlas who are only a point above Pumas in 16th place, and are also winless, but at least they’ve drawn three of their five and have been known to come back and out up a fight. Should be interesting to see if these two trade places at all come next week.
Cruz Azul 3-1 Guadalajara at Estadio Azul
Joao Rojas had a brace and Jerónimo Amione Cevallos scored an 83rd minute deal-sealer for Cruz Azul, while Rafael Márquez Lugo – who leads Chivas in goals scored with two- converted a penalty and his team’s only goal after Luis Perea was called for a handball in the 50th minute. The loss has invoked an angry cry from fans to finally get rid of manager Benjamin Galindo, who has reportedly called owner Jorge Vergara to ask for one more game in charge of the struggling squad before being handed his walking papers. Chivas have fallen down to 14th with a 1-1-2 record, while the win for Cruz Azul puts them at 2-1-2, holding steady in ninth place.
Atlante 2-4 América at Estadio Andrés Quintana Roo
It was goals galore for this match, though the first didn’t come until the 58th minute when Atlante’s Martín Galmarini headed a pass to Alberto García, who finished from the center of the box into the top center of the net. It set the pace for the rest of the game, especially for América who answered with two goals within a minute of each other to follow. Juan Carlos Medina served up Francisco Rodríguez off a set piece, and the ball was headed in to level the score, and not even a minute later, Luis Mendoza crossed a ball to Narciso Mina following a fast break to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. Diego Jiménez Hernández responded in the 75th minute with his equalizer, but Jorge Hernández was called for a foul in the penalty area and a penalty was awarded to América, which Raul Jimenez easily converted. The deal was sealed for América when Christian Bermúdez (just caught myself writing Christian Benitez and got a pit in my stomach; may he rest in peace) played a ball to Andrés Andrade to finish in the 87th minute, giving them three points on the road. América now head back home sitting in sixth place at 2-1-0, having only played three games on the season after delaying their first two since five of their players were on Gold Cup duty for Mexico. Atlante are now at 0-1-4 in last place.
Tigres 3-1 Monterrey at Estadio Universitario
In this 100th edition of the Clasico Regio, Alan Pulido picked up a brace for Tigres, with an insurance goal courtesy of Lucas Lobos in their 3-1 win at home over Monterrey. In a game mainly dominated by Tigres, Monterrey did create some chances, the best of them coming from the left corner of the 18. Humberto Suazo’s goal in the 23rd minute was succeeded only by two shots that actually went on target in the 25th and 63rd minutes; otherwise, it was all Tigres. The hosts sit steady in 10th place and are 2-0-2 on the season, while the Rayados are 0-3-2 and also sit steady, in 15th. Fun fact: this clasico dates back to 1974, where the first game ever resulted in a 3-3 tie. Monterrey won the second in 1975 and can claim the first clasico victory between the two sides with a score that ended 2-1.
Atlas 1-1 Pachuca at Estadio Jalisco
With three goals and two assists in five games, Vicente Vuoso has been a delight to watch for Atlas, who are starting to impress me as that team who can come from behind and at least even things up when they’re down. (See their game against Tijuana in the Xolos’ season opener: a thrilling come -from -behind 3-3 draw) And that was certainly the case against Pachuca, when Vuoso’s goal three minutes into second half stoppage time helped the home side salvage a point. Oscar Pérez made 10 saves, getting a yellow card in the process, while Pachuca’s Daniel Ludueña and Fernando Cavenaghi created the most chances with little success. Ludueña is always fun to watch, and although this one wasn’t thrilling all the way through, Atlas sure did find a way to make it interesting at the very end. They are still winless and in 15th place with a 0-3-2 record, while Pachuca have moved down to fifth place at 2-2-1.
Querétaro 1-1 Chiapas at La Corregidora
Esteban Paredes opened up scoring in the 26th minute for Querétaro when Wilberto Cosme came through with an assist, which he was able to finish from close range. Substitute Lucas Viatri and Carlos Ochoa both looked somewhat lively for the hosts who were down for the entire match, until Querétaro’s Diego de la Torre was called for a hand ball in the penalty area AND red carded for a bad foul in the 90th minute. Ochoa took the penalty and converted to level things up, but 1-1 is where the score would stay and that was all she wrote. Chipas are still undefeated and remain in seventh place with a 1-4-0 record, while Querétaro stay in 12th at 1-2-2.
Tijuana 2-0 Pumas at Estadio Caliente
Raúl Enríquez gets (most of) the credit in my book for Tijuana’s 2-0 win over Pumas on Friday night, playing a hand in the Xolos' 99th goal, and bagging their 100th. He was credited with an assist the 10th minute of play when he received a ball played through from Cristian Pellerano, and then made a quick pass for Ecuadorian midfielder Fidel Martinez to head into goal from close range inside the six yard box. Enríquez was at it again in the 59th minute, but this time he was the one doing the finishing when Richard Ruiz served him up via a backwards header off a Xolos corner kick. His goal was almost identical to the one executed by Martinez in the 10th minute, and also came from almost exactly the same spot. In the 73rd minute, Cirilo Saucedo made a super save to deny the possibility of a comeback, when Javier Cortés’ free kick from outside the box sailed on target. With a diving effort, he punched the ball away. US international Joe Corona was lively as well, winning free kicks and taking chances whenever he saw them. Pumas closed out the final minutes with a couple of off target attempts, but Tijuana bagged the shutout and now sit steady in 8th place at 2-1-1 on the season, with a busy travel schedule ahead: they’ll travel to play CD Victoria in CONCACAF play on the 17th, travel to Monterrey for league play on the 20th, and return home to face Santos Laguna on the 23rd. Pumas are winless in 17th place at 0-2-3, and will face third place León next week.