Here your five conclusions from the sixteenth week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Clausura.
Puebla pile pressure on Club América
The good news for Club América fans, their team is in the Liguilla. The bad news, they did it without winning. On Friday, las Águilas were thumped 3-1 by Puebla to make it five straight games without a win in all competitions. To put mildly, this has been a terrible month of April for América. They have proven to be a mirage of the team that went most of the first half of the season undefeated, and Miguel Herrera can only hope this doesn’t carry on into the Liguilla. The defeat prompted the team to have a players-only meeting, and although history suggests América will find a way to be a protagonist in the Liguilla, one wonders what the narrative will be around Miguel Herrera this summer if they fail to get past the first round.
Atlas take Clasico Tapatio in Marquez’s last home game
Atlas fans got the chance to say goodbye to one of their club legends on Friday, as Rafael Marquez signed off from the Estadio Jalisco with a 1-0 win over rivals Chivas. You can dedicate a whole post on how the game went and where this puts both Atlas and Chivas ahead of the last game of the regular season. But at the end, none of that matters. It was a proper sending off for one of the greatest Mexican fútbol players of all time.
The question now is will he be in Russia 2018?
Hasta luego Estadio Azul (?)
Speaking of sending offs, Cruz Azul played (possibly?) their last game at the Estadio Azul on Saturday, defeating Monarcas Morelia 2-0. As fate would have it, Cruz Azul do still hold a slight chance of making the Liguilla, which would then mean there could be at least one more home game in the books before the end of the season. It is complicated but not impossible. La Maquina need to win their last game, while hoping for defeats to Xolos de Tijuana, Pachuca, Necaxa, and a draw/defeat from Puebla. Stranger things have happened, and with the way this Liga MX season has gone, you just never know.
Lobos BUAP officially relegated
Pour one out for Lobos BUAP. The team from Puebla was officially relegated on Saturday, as a missed penalty proved costly in a 4-0 defeat to Monterrey at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer. From almost making the Liguilla, to having one of the worst seasons possible, the writing was on the wall. It almost seems like they threw in the towel the moment they let go of coach Rafael Puente Jr, who was responsible for the team’s promotion back in 2017.
That said, this might not be the very last we see of Lobos BUAP. With relegation and promotion set to be restructured in the coming months, money talks in Liga MX. Obviously, it won’t come cheap, and the price being thrown around is of around $6 million, which can seem like a fortune to a small club like Lobos.
Toluca finish top of the league table
With one game to go in the regular season, Toluca wrapped up first place in the league table with a 3-0 outing over Veracruz. The Diablos Rojos have been by far the best team in Liga MX this season, and make it now nine games in a row with a win for Hernan Cristante’s men. The Diablos Rojos are the absolute favorites to win the title and have been a model of consistency all season. They may even just buck the trend of the “Curse of the Superlider”. Toluca supporters, though, have learned not to get too excited, and anything can happen in the “Fiesta Grande”.