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Liga MX Apertura Week 3: Chivas stumble but show signs of champions

Photo by Refugio Ruiz/LatinContent/Getty Images

Here your five conclusions from the third week of play in the Liga MX Apertura

Aviles Hurtado piles pressure on former team

Aviles Hurtado scored twice against his former team, Xolos de Tijuana, as he helped Monterrey maintain their undefeated status this season with a 3-0 win at the Estadio Caliente on Friday. The victory lifts the regiomontanos to second in the league table with seven points, only behind in goal difference to the surprising Lobos BUAP.

As has been the case in this Apertura, the win slightly flatters Monterrey, but this was a fine example of how capable they are offensively. Avilés Hurtado, who traded the red and black of Xolos for the blue and white stripes of Monterrey, looked like a regular threat between lines for Antonio “Turco” Mohamed’s men, and he showed exactly what Tijuana let go of during the offseason. Tijuana are yet to score a goal this season, which makes the fact that it was Avilés Hurtado who scored two of the three goals even more painful for the last-placed team in Mexico.

Sluggish Pachuca lose again to leaders Lobos BUAP

Neat, intricate attacking interplay is something you wouldn’t expect from a team that was just promoted to Liga MX and is fighting for survival. Don’t tell that to Lobos BUAP who are not just top of the league table after three weeks but playing magnificent fútbol in the process. On Saturday, Rafael Puente’s men took down Pachuca by a score of 3-2 to go top of the league table.

This was another largely disappointing showing from the Tuzos, who have lost all three of their matches this season. Pachuca rarely play badly, but here they went down 3-0 after just 60 minutes. Gradually, Pachuca developed into an attacking force and managed to come within one of leveling the score, but at the end, it wasn’t enough as Diego Alonso and Co. fell victim to the hottest team in Mexico at the moment.

Cruz Azul buckle again, Leon continue to struggle

Insert timeless joke about Cruz Azul buckling in the final minute of play here.

It happened again for La Maquina when Osvaldo Rodriguez headed home in the final moments of the game to rescue Leon a 2-2 draw at home. In truth, it wasn’t the worst result for Cruz Azul. They once again demonstrated long spells of patient, confident possession, but as ever, their momentum eventually dropped, allowing the opposing team to score. It is hard to make a real assessment out of La Maquina after just three weeks, but whether they play attractive fútbol or not, it is hard to back them up.

That said, they are doing better than Leon. The pressure keeps piling on Javier Torrente, and that was no more evident than when Leon scored the first equalizer. Torrente celebrated by nearly overturning the medic cart, “el carrito de las desgracias”, seemingly under huge relief. Patience, though, is running out in Guanajuato, and he will need more than draws against Cruz Azul if he wants to stay.

Club America win Clásico Capitalino

This is usually a fixture most Liga MX fans relish, and Saturday showed why. With the Estadio Azteca as venue, Club America triumphed over rivals Pumas UNAM 2-1 to win the Clásico Capitalino. As the saying goes, Clásicos are not played, the are won. Rightly or wrongly, Club America showed exactly that, and thanks to a penalty by Cecilio Dominguez got their second victory of the season. You come to expect high-intensity matches from these two teams and that’s exactly what fans got. From a Pumas perspective, however, they have to ask themselves serious questions about how they can improve. Converting these type of games into wins should be a major priority for coach Juan Francisco Palencia, or else Pumas will once again finish in the middle of the table.

Chivas stumble at home against Necaxa

It took Necaxa less than six minutes to erase a 2-0 deficit against Chivas on Saturday as the Rayos earned a 2-2 draw. By that point, Chivas looked brilliant, putting in one of their most clinical first half displays in some time. Even though this wasn’t Chivas’ best performance, their first 45 minutes said much about the potential of this team. The Rebaño has been struggling with injuries, suspensions, and players out on international duty but now seem close to a path towards restoring some stability. In fact, coach Matias Almeyda was quite sympathetic about the defeat in his press conference, claiming Chivas played the first 20 minutes like champions. It might be a matter of time before we see Chivas winning games again in Liga MX.