Here are your five conclusions from the fifteenth week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Apertura.
Tigres closing down on Liguilla objective
Everybody is expecting Tigres to challenge for the Liga MX title, but thus-far it has been an underwhelming campaign from Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s men. Although nobody is doubting Tigres will make the Liguilla, the Universitarios’s midseason woes have the team sitting seventh with two weeks to go in the regular season.
By Tigres’s standards, that’s not very good, but the team does have a tendency of getting hot late in the season. On Friday, Tigres got an important 2-0 win over Monarcas Morelia, in what was only their first win in five matches across all competitions. The win effectively put Tigres within three points of sealing their place in the Liguilla and brought some much-needed optimism and enthusiasm to Tuca’s side.
Chivas can say goodbye to the Liguilla
We all saw it coming. Despite taking an early 2-0 lead, Chivas collapsed in front of our own eyes as Puebla came from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
What else is there left to say? Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this Chivas performance is that it almost seemed like they willfully allowed Puebla back into this game. Heck, Chivas were lucky they didn’t lose.
With rumors of contractual issues and players on their way out, admittedly it isn’t best of times in Guadalajara. A Liguilla place now looks improbable and the sensible thing to do is to look towards the future and towards having a respectable performance at the Club World Cup.
Pachuca demolish lowly Necaxa behind Victor Guzman
If there is any question that Victor Guzman is a natural goalscorer, the 23-year-old scored four times on Saturday to lead Pachuca to a dominant 6-2 win over Necaxa. Guzman is just incredibly effective, and you can make the argument that he is Pachuca’s best player. Most importantly, Guzman’s four-goal performance was enough to elevate Los Tuzos to eighth in the league table with 23 points.
Indeed, Pachuca still have two games remaining, against Atlas and León, in which they might need to win both to make the Liguilla. But with Guzman in this sort of form, Pachuca have great reason to be optimistic. And so does the Mexico National Team.
Club América became the first invitee to the Liguilla
Billed as one of the games of the week, Club América and Toluca was far from it as both teams settled for a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca. Toluca had been impressive in the early stages of the match and took an early lead through Alexis Vega, but Las Águilas were able to equalize after Henry Martin scored only his second goal of the season.
Let’s be honest. None of these teams are here to satisfy the aesthetic demands of neutrals. They are here to win the league title. In the case of Club América, the draw was enough to officially seal their place in the Liguilla with only two weeks still left to play in the regular season. Of course, the real battle will be there, where it wouldn’t be surprising to see these two teams face off once again come late November.
Cruz Azul return to the top of the league table
The other team that clinched their place in the Liguilla this week was Cruz Azul. The Cementeros had themselves a week. After winning the Copa MX title, Cruz Azul were able to hold on to a 2-1 victory over Pumas at the Estadio Universitario to reclaim first place in the league table and overtake rivals Club América.
Cruz Azul were clinical in this one, and though they made things interesting at the end with a Luis Quintana goal, it looked like one of those games in which you Pumas coach David Patiño’s decisions left more questions than answers. At the end, that was no fault of Cruz Azul who remain the prime candidate to win it all in Liga MX and are going all in for the double.