Round 12 action in Mexico saw another change at the top of the league standings. UANL Tigres took over the top spot this weekend after their emphatic 4-1 defeat of Pumas. Tigres are now tied on points with Cruz Azul, who bounced back after last week's loss. Santos also came up big this week, using their win over Queretaro to vault up to third place in the league table. Even with just five games left to play this season, much remains undecided. The top seven teams in the league are separated by a mere two points.
Here we take a look back at the best performances from Round 12 in the Mexican Primera Apertura 2011 season.
Queretaro 1-3 Santos
Though the final result seems one-sided, Queretaro and Santos produced a thrilling and fast-paced match on Saturday at La Corregidora. Both teams proposed an attacking strategy, though in the end it was the deadly attack of Oribe Peralta and Darwin Quintero that provided the difference for Santos. Even though Santos maintained the lead throughout the match, Queretaro never gave up. Los Gallos Blancos continually pressured the Santos defense, who were aided by an exceptional game in goal from Oswaldo Sanchez. Recently called up to Mexico’s national team, Oswaldo kept Queretaro from making a comeback, stopping shot after shot to give Santos their fourth win under the management of Benjamin Galindo.
Javier Orozco (Cruz Azul)
"El Chuletita" Javier Orozco had a remarkable game against Puebla on Saturday. The Cruz Azul striker led his team to a win over "Los Camoteros," scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory. Orozco came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute, making his performance even more notable. Cruz Azul controlled most of the game, but Puebla defended well. Once Orozco entered the match as a sub for Gerardo Torrado, it only took five minutes to make his presence felt. Orozco scored his first off a corner kick, heading it past Alexandro Alvarez to put the locals up 1-0. Near the end of the match Orozco scored again, sealing the game for "Los Cementeros" in the 89th minute. Saturday night's performance by Orozco produced enticing glimpses of a future Mexican forward talent.
Tigres UANL 4-1 Pumas UNAM
The win itself may not have been a surprise, but the way Tigres beat Pumas on Saturday night -- by a 4-1 margin -- was a shock to everyone. Tigres when playing at home are always one of the strongest teams in the league, but how easily they won this game came as a huge surprise. Pumas coach Guillermo Vasquez lost the game against his teacher, Ricardo Ferretti, who for many years coached the UNAM side. Tigres steamrolled over Pumas in the first half of Saturday's match, scoring all four goals in a span or just 39 minutes. Pumas took a four goal margin into halftime, at which point the ref could have gone ahead and called the game. The Pumas defense seemed slow and out of place, while the attack of Tigres -- led by their playmaker Lucas Lobos -- dominated Pumas through the entire first half. Though Pumas got one back in the 82nd minute, it was too little, too late for the defending champions.
Team on the Rise
Santos Laguna are an easy choice for this week’s team on the rise. Los Guerreros won their fourth straight game on Saturday, a streak in which three of the wins have come away from home. Benjamin Galindo has seemed to find the right strategy for this team, who earlier this year under Diego Cocca where having a season to forget. Since the introduction of Galindo on the bench, Santos has won all four of its matches. Now Santos sits in 3rd place of the league table with 20 points, just one point behind first place Tigres.
Carlos Morales (Queretaro 1-3 Santos)
It’s not often that the best goals of the week come via set pieces, but this week that's definitely the case. Carlos Morales scored a wonderful goal against Queretaro off a powerful free kick to cap the Santos win. Like his brother, the now retired Ramon Morales, Carlos Morales has a deadly left foot and any free kick is a danger for the opposing team. In this goal, Morales hits the ball perfectly, passing inches from the post past Queretaro’s Liborio Sanchez. The goal sealed the 3-1 Santos win over Queretaro, and put his team just one point outside the top spot in the league table.
(See the Carlos Morales goal 4:04 minutes into the video below)
Top 5 teams following Round 12
1.Tigres UANL – 21 points
2. Cruz Azul – 21 points
3. Santos – 20 points
4. Pachuca – 20 points
5. Pumas UNAM – 20 points
Bottom 5 teams
14. Puebla – 13 points
15. Morelia – 13 points
16. Club America – 10 points
17. Club Tijuana – 8 points
18. Atlas – 6 points
Top 5 Goalscorers of the season
1. Carlos Bueno – 8 goals (Queretaro)
2. Oribe Peralta – 7 goals (Santos)
3. Christian Benitez – 7 goals (Club America)
4. Luis Gabriel Rey – 7 goals (Jaguares)
5. Ivan Alonso – 7 goals (Toluca)