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Liga MX Clausura Week 17: Final Liguilla places determined as playoffs approach

Tigres UANL v Cruz Azul - Torneo Clausura 2018 Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Here your five conclusions from the last week of regular season play in the 2018 Liga MX Clausura.

Xolos de Tijuana beat Toluca to reach Liguilla

Club Tijuana sealed their place in the 2018 Liga MX Clausura Liguilla on Friday against Toluca but will need to do better if they plan on escaping the Quarterfinals. Tijuana’s offensive issues have refused to go away and scored just once away from home all season. At the same time, Tijuana enters the Liguilla having the worst offense among eight teams qualified, and facing higher seeded Monterrey in the Quarterfinals means they will need to score to have any chance of progressing. They could be heartened in knowing the team is healthier than ever, especially with star striker Gustavo Bou back in the mix.

Tigres and Monterrey in stalemate ahead of Liguilla

Will we have another Tigres vs Monterrey matchup in the Liguilla? Only time will tell, but for now, both teams saw their final regular season game end in a 2-2 stalemate at the Estadio Universitario. It was a Clasico Regio with a little bit of everything. There was controversies, a penalty, a red card, and as you probably guessed, an Andre-Pierre Gignac goal.

Of course, both Tigres and Monterrey are perennial candidates for the Liga MX title, but they don’t seem to be carrying the same buzz as in previous seasons. On one hand, Tigres finished the season without a win in their last four games, while Monterrey were not immune to small patches of inconsistency throughout their regular campaign.

Club América steal second place from Santos Laguna

For all the bad play Club América showed in the last few weeks of the regular season, they ended up snatching second place from Santos Laguna on Saturday, defeating the Guerreros 1-0. The only goal of the match was scored by frenchman Jeremy Menez, who was making his return from injury after a long layoff.

Las Águilas have not helped themselves in the last few weeks, and this is only their first win in six games in all competitions. On the heels of last season when they failed to make the Liguilla, the pressure is on Miguel Herrera to do something special in these playoffs. The problem for the azulcremas is, despite finishing second place, that is looking unlikely. To make matters worse, they might have to do it without a key player in their defense, Emmanuel Aguilera. The Argentine defender is set to be out for at least two weeks with a leg injury.

Mission accomplished for Pumas UNAM

It wasn’t easy, but Pumas UNAM became the last team qualified to the Liguilla following their 1-1 draw with Queretaro. The Universitarios came into this one needing just a point, and although they were fortunate not to lose the game in the final minutes, they were able to set a Quarterfinal clash with Club America.

Like most teams in Liga MX this season,Pumas has been no stranger to inconsistency but after going three straight games unbeaten. the hope for them now is they are able to carry that momentum into the Liguilla because as the saying goes “momentum can be everything”, especially when you are going up against your biggest rivals.

Liguilla will have to make up for poor regular season

It has to be said, this has been among the most underwhelming regular season campaigns in Liga MX in some time. Inconsistency has plagued nearly every team this season and even though Toluca has been by far the best team in Mexico, few people are talking about the Diablos Rojos as genuine contenders. Perhaps it is because Toluca are not considered a “big” team or because they have been a constant failure in recent Liguillas. Even the two big teams from Monterrey aren’t being talked about as usual. That said, the Liguilla offers some intriguing matchups and the hope is the tournament ends up redeeming itself during the “fiesta grande”.