Here your five conclusions from Week 16 of the 2017 Liga MX Clausura.
Veracruz avoid the drop
In the wake of Chiapas’ 2-2 draw with Santos Laguna, Veracruz virtually sealed their place in Liga MX for another season, following their 1-0 victory over Monterrey on Friday.
Say what you want about the Tiburones Rojos. Sure, they have an owner who openly exposes his own fan base for political gain. There is also the fact that their home stadium only received a one-match ban following the violent incidents that occurred after Tigres’ visit back in February, which frankly can still be considered a joke from the Mexican Federation. But whether you like it or not, they will be in Liga MX for another season. Four wins from their last six matches will do, and who knows? They can even qualify to the Liguilla.
Xolos might live to regret Tigres defeat
After losing the CONCACAF Champions League Final to Pachuca during the midweek, it was imperative Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s me bounced back in a positive way. And bounce back they did as they crushed Xolos de Tijuana 3-0.
Despite the defeat, Xolos remained top of the league table, and this is where the big irony for Tijuana is. Xolos’ greatest threat in the Liguilla might be Tigres. The Regiomontanos have now won three of their last four league matches and a fifth would likely mean they face Tijuana in the Liguilla.
As ever, the Liguilla is a completely different monster. Should they qualify to the Liguilla, by virtue of the squad Tigres have they are automatically one of the favorites to win the title. In that respect, Xolos might live to regret this one.
Chivas are Liguilla-bound
As dips in form go, things could be worse for Chivas. Matias Almeyda’s side clinched a place in the Liguilla after a thrilling 1-1 draw with Club Leon, but it is now four league games without a win for the Rebaño. Nobody is talking about Chivas being a potential title contender anymore, and it’s obvious the team doesn’t look like the threat they were earlier in the season.
Many of Chivas’ struggles lately have been directly related to injuries. The team simply looks agitated without key players like Rodolfo Pizarro and Angel Zaldivar providing a platform for the more fringe players to shine. Of course, the Liguilla is all about keeping your eyes focused on the prize, and as clearly noticed in their Copa MX championship run, Chivas have the resolve to get the job done.
“Conejo” Perez ends Cruz Azul’s season
Death and Cruz Azul collapses. Liga MX fans like few things better than bullying Cruz Azul’s tendency for dropping late leads. Their latest collapse may be one of the most depressingly hilarious in recent times and came in the form of one of their club legends.
With a 2-1 lead heading into the final moments of the game, Cruz Azul looked set to enter the last week of regular season play with some hope of still being among the top eight teams qualified to the Liguilla. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, 44-year-old Pachuca goalkeeper Oscar “Conejo” Perez rose into the air to meet a Jonathan Urretaviscaya corner to level the score at 2-2. Yes, we are talking about THE “Conejo” Perez. The same Conejo that stands at 5’8 tall and is still on loan from Cruz Azul, the team he ironically cost a place in the Liguilla. It doesn’t get more Cruz Azul than that.
As for Conejo, you don’t need to be reminded that he is an absolute Liga MX legend.
Conejo Perez is an absolute legend! pic.twitter.com/ef32seiFOb— Rafael Diaz (@mexicanfutcom) April 30, 2017
Club America’s Liguilla under threat
Speaking of the immortal Conejo Perez, his goal set up what is arguably the match of next weekend. Conejo’s goal takes double importance as it also kept Pachuca’s hope of reaching the Liguilla alive, hope that will be in play against Club America at the Estadio Azteca next Saturday.
Las Aguilas have now blown two chances to seal a place in the Liguilla, and after their 1-0 defeat to Atlas over the weekend, which qualified the Rojinegros to the “Fiesta Grande, Club America need at least a draw to reach the playoffs. A defeat, though, would mean Pachuca would overtake Club America in the league table, and may well cost Ricardo La Volpe’s men a place in the Liguilla.
Admittedly, Club America’s recent decline comes at possibly the worst time possible, and perhaps for the first time outside of the big Clasicos against Chivas and Pumas, there is real pressure on La Volpe. Win and you are in. Lose and you go home.