Here your five conclusions from the fifth week of play in the Liga MX Apertura
Tijuana get first win
Playing at Estadio Caliente has been problematic for Xolos de Tijuana. They lost each one of their last three league games there. Losing another game at home would have had a serious impact on their confidence for the rest of the season and would have added extra pressure on coach Eduardo Coudet. The border side, however, earned their first victory of the season by defeating struggling Santos Laguna 2-0 on Friday.
It was arguably Tijuana’s best game under Coudet, and once new signing Gustavo Bou put Tijuana in front, there was no stopping Xolos from getting their first three points of the season. Tijuana are always expected to make a fortress out of their home ground, and in that regard, Tijuana fans hope this win brings further progression as the season continues, especially playing at home.
Atlas’ relegation problems come to light
Atlas’ relegation demons seemed to reappear on Saturday, as the Rojinegros dropped their third game in a row by losing 2-1 to Cruz Azul. It is not even a surprise anymore. Atlas have a tendency to lose consistency tournament after tournament. The Rojinegros looked like the hottest team in Mexico after just two weeks, but now are in a dogfight with Veracruz to avoid the drop. As of today, Atlas have a slight edge over Veracruz in the relegation table, but despite still having plenty of the season to go, Atlas can’t take the situation they are in for granted. They’ve been in this position before, and if past relegation battles have taught us anything is that anything can happen.
Club America beat Lobos BUAP 3-2
The good news is Club America and Lobos BUAP played to a five-goal thriller on Saturday in what was possibly one of the more entertaining games in this young Liga MX Apertura season. The bad news is unless you paid a ticket to the match, you probably missed it. Lobos BUAP has been in constant negotiations to reach a TV deal to show their games, but after five weeks, the Liga MX newcomers have not agreed a deal with any major TV network. From a fan point of view, it is a shame we can’t watch one the big surprises of the season in action. That said, if you are Lobos BUAP, as the saying goes “get that paper”.
The student still can't beat the master
One of the most iconic moments in recent Pumas UNAM history has to be watching Juan Francisco Palencia as a player and Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti as a coach celebrating the 2009 Clausura league title with the Universitarios. Fast forward to present times and Tuca is now coach of Tigres, while Palencia is coach of Pumas. Palencia has enjoyed mixed results since taking over the capitalinos, but one thing about his tenure with the Universitarios is he just can’t beat his former coach Tuca.
On Saturday, Palencia had another chance to change that, but instead, Tigres ran away 2-0 winners. In total, Palencia and Tuca have faced off seven times and the Brazilian coach has won five and drawn the other two. What’s more, Tigres have outscored Pumas 16-3 across those seven games. It is fair to say Palencia has a long way to go before he can beat his old coach.
Chivas go last
It is hard to brand it a surprise anymore when a defending league title champion struggles to make much of an impact in the season following their win. Yet while some hiccups were expected from Chivas, nobody thought the Rebaño would be last after five weeks. After an early red card to Jair Pereira, Chivas suffered their second defeat of the season by losing to Puebla 1-0.
As it usually is with big teams and slow starts, Chivas’ negative situation will likely be in the spotlight more than it should be. Certainly they deserve it, but no means should Chivas fans press the panic button just yet. Next week holds a “doble jornada”, which arrives in the least opportune time possible for the Rebaño. Should they get some positive results, though, perhaps Chivas can get some of that momentum back that they enjoyed last season.
With that in mind, there is still a lot of the season left, and if Tigres showed anything last season is that it is still too early to count anybody out, especially the defending champions of Mexico.