Here your five conclusions from the seventh week of play in the Liga MX Clausura.
Culprits aplenty for violence in Veracruz
The Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente collapsed into near-chaos on Friday. Tigres’ 3-0 win over Veracruz saw Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s men put in their best performance of the season and yet it was all overshadowed by ugly crowd scenes at the end of the match.
Problems are always widely feared when a team like Tigres travels to outside venues, which does not explain why police did just about nothing to prevent an all-out-riot. The unnerving sight of Tigres’ personnel urging police to get involved was valiant, but threatening local fans in the process was not a good idea.
Then, perhaps most ridiculous of all, there is Veracruz owner Fidel Kuri Grajales, who blamed political opposition (??) for plotting the violence inside the stadium. Kuri is a right-wing politician and a former member of Mexican congress. To blame what happened on Friday to “opposition” is just silly, and that kind of rhetoric is sadly becoming all too common not just in Mexico but north of the border too....
A lo Atlas, Jemez loses again
On Saturday, Atlas, in very much Atlas-fashion, held on to edge Cruz Azul 1-0 at the Estadio Azul.
A common theme this season for Cruz Azul is they drop points but end up drawing solace from their great play. Against the Rojinegros, it was no different, as Cruz Azul outshot and out-possessed Atlas on their way to another flawed attacking display.
This is a no-brainer. The problem with playing expressive, attacking fútbol is it leaves you with gaps on the defensive side of the ball. Under Paco Jemez, Cruz Azul have played the price of progressive football, winning just once this season.
Next week, La Maquina take on rivals Club America, where they will need to change the story fast. Otherwise, the Jemez project will be at grave risk of coming to a premature end.
Monterrey returning to form
In an instant, Monterrey have gone from four straight draws to two straight wins and fourth place in the Liga MX table. On Saturday, the Rayados took care of business by defeating a semi second-string Pachuca side 1-0 at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
Admittedly, everything coming out of Monterrey the past 6+ months has been disastrous. Maybe it is because Monterrey is not a “big club”, but owning one of the best squads in all of Liga MX and finishing ninth last season should have cost Antonio “Turco” Mohamed his job. Instead, Mohamed and his side are one of two teams remaining in the Clausura without a defeat, and after seven games played, they have something they can build on.
While the play still isn’t great, the knowledge that they boast of arguably one of the most talented squads in all of Mexico makes them one of the teams to watch as we head towards the second half of the regular season.
Chivas earn Clásico Nacional glory
In the end, there was only one team on the field. Chivas supporters gleefully chanted Cielito Lindo as they watched their team brush aside rivals Club America 1-0 on Saturday. Home fans will know this is a special win. This is only the second ever Clásico Nacional victory at the Estadio Chivas since the stadium opened in 2010.
Everything from the opening second until the end of the game was red and white. Chivas’ winner might have arrived from a penalty, but there is no doubt the Rebaño deserved it. Club America’s response was slugging and complacent, and as such, Ricardo La Volpe’s problems have now multiplied. Whether “El Bigoton” will be manager for Las Aguilas through the end of the season or not remains to be seen.
For Matias Almeyda, on the other hand, tactically this game could serve as an important benchmark going forward. Alan Pulido wasn’t at his best, but in support of Angel Zaldivar, who no longer played on the left, Chivas took a different dimension. To try this experiment against lower-level opposition would have been ideal, but to try it against Club America says a lot about Almeyda. The Argentine manager took his chance and it paid off.
It goes without saying, Chivas are a team oozing in potential. If they can gain some consistency, this Clásico Nacional victory can only be the start of something special.
Pumas show heart against Xolos
From the depths of despair to one of the famous comebacks in recent Liga MX history. On Sunday, Pumas UNAM came from three goals down to rescue an emphatic 3-3 draw with Xolos de Tijuana.
In a space of just 10 minute, the Universitarios scored three unanswered goals. It was a stunning performance from Francisco Palencia’s men, who have now gone an astounding 27 consecutive home games in all competitions without going scoreless.
Though Pumas enjoyed the benefits of a dodgy penalty, they kept pushing, they kept fighting, and at the end of the day, that is the least you can ask for from a team when they fail to deliver on the tactical side of the game.
Pumas currently sit seventh with 11 points, but the good news for the Universitarios is their schedule only gets easier from here. In the first seven weeks, Pumas faced five of the seven other teams that made the Liguilla last season, as well as rivals Cruz Azul and Monterrey. There is reason to be optimistic in Ciudad Universitaria.