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Match Recap: Chivas 1-3 Cruz Azul

Chivas v Cruz Azul - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

The game of the week

In the most intriguing game of the Jornada 2, Chivas and Cruz Azul met Saturday night in Guadalajara at the newly named Akron Stadium. The game looked and sounded promising. Two of the big four teams played so fans and neutrals alike expected something special. Another element adding flair to the gamewas the fact that Pedro Caixinha, recently returned from a failed stint in Scotland with Rangers, was coaching against Matias Almeyda for the first time. With good futbol, four goals, and controversy; the game did not disappoint.

The first half belonged to Chivas

The game began with very lively and offensive minded ball movement from Chivas, they dominated possession and created a few interesting chances in the first 15 minutes. Cruz Azul slowly gained more possession and somewhat balanced the game but still did not generate much offensively. Goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota had a pretty uneventful first half.

Javier Lopez “La Chofis” looked dangerous and motivated throughout the first half. He had the first real chance when he took on the Cruz Azul defense and got off a shot that Corona just managed to keep out with a spectacular dive. Somebody should have told Chofis that getting in shape could make such a big difference, hopefully he continues to lay off the junk food and can continue to make an impact this season.

Pizarro was the other creative force for Chivas in the first half. His constant movement in the final third of the field created many problems for Cruz Azul. In the 35th minute, he got the ball, took off down the right wing, and put in a magnificent cross. Cata Dominguez was marking Carlos Cisneros well, but unfortunately he slipped and fell. Cisneros did not hesitate and finished with a strong well, directed header.

For Cruz Azul there was not much happening on the offensive end, Martin Rodriguez tried to make something happen on the wings but he had very little help. FIerro did not manage to do much on the opposite wing, and the central midfielders were both too defensive and sitting too deep. Walter Montoya played right behind Mora in the number 10 position but did very little.

Finally, near the end of the first half, Rodriguez made a great play and put in a through pass to Felipe Mora, who could not get it in the back of the net. Had he been on target it would have been a goal because Cota had already gone the wrong way.

Controversy and a turnaround in the 2nd half

The second half got off to a fast and wild start. A very doubtful penalty was given to Cruz Azul as Carlos Fierro went down in the penalty box. After seeing a few replays it was clear that he was pulled backward and fell forward. There was nothing that Cota could do because Mora took the penalty very well and tied the game in the 49th minute.

After the penalty, the Cementeros put a lot of pressure on Chivas with their high press and caused them to make many possession and passing mistakes. In the 77th minute, though, Chofis once again made a run and put in a good ball that nobody managed to get on the end of.

Immediately after, Cruz Azul regained possession as Rafael Baca took the ball near midfield and with a left footed shot from outside the area scored an amazing goal.

Between the 80th and 83rd minute, Cruz Azul had two chances to increase the lead but Gullit Peña could not keep his footing on the first and Mora could not finish on the second.

The Cementeros continued to cause problems for Chivas, and in the 92nd minute, Chofis lost a ball near midfield that led to a counter attack. Fierro took the ball upfield and put in a perfect pass to Mora, who scored easily, sealing the game for Cruz Azul.

Chivas still looking for answers

The chickens came home to roost for Chivas tonight. Carlos Fierro really made them pay for not keeping him. He created (or fabricated) a penalty and assisted on another goal. Alan Pulido looked lost, the defense made dumb mistakes, and Chivas still can’t win at home (They have only managed 7 out of a possible 30 points in their last 10 home games).

The only two positives are the efforts of Chofis and Pizarro, who looked very good for most of the game. Cruz Azul on the other hand could not have hoped for a better outcome. They took all three points, moved up on the table, and they look very confident under Caixinha. This might be their best chance in years to finally win another championship.