Here your five conclusions from the Liguilla Quarterfinals in the 2018 Liga MX Clausura.
Club América show up against rivals Pumas
Such had been Club América’s decline in recent weeks, that nobody expected las Águilas to demolish Pumas UNAM the way they did across two legs. Miguel Herrera’s men completely crushed the Universitarios, taking the tie with a 6-2 aggregate scoreline.
América now has a good claim for contender to the Liga MX title and everything just seems to be clicking again for the yellow and blue. Jeremy Menez is healthy again, while Miguel Herrera continues to unlock the door for Mateus Uribe’s goalscoring abilities. With everybody on the same wavelength, América are going to be a tough team to beat in the Semifinals and possibly beyond.
Monterrey crack again
Monterrey have a history of underachieving in the Liguilla in recent years. Unfortunately for Rayados fans, it happened again on Saturday, as Antonio “Turco” Mohamed’s men were eliminated at the hands of Xolos de Tijuana. The Fronterizos arrived to the second leg of this series having scored just once away from home all season. Not only did Tijuana score twice away from him in the second leg, they took down one of the favorites to win the title. Much of the focus will now be on Mohamed, who might have his minutes numbered with Rayados. For all of the consistent success Monterrey has found during the regular season, they always find a way to come short.
Toluca edge closer to final objective
It wasn’t easy. It certainly took a late scare, but Toluca were able to advance to the Semifinals of the Ligulla following a 2-2 draw with Monarcas Morelia on Sunday. Toluca continues to find ways of getting the victory, and after a successful campaign that saw them finish at the top of the league table during the regular season, things continue to go their way in the Liguilla.
They were perhaps a bit lucky against Morelia, but it is becoming increasingly likely that we will see Toluca fighting for the title. There are flaws in Hernan Cristante’s gameplan that need some work, but nothing that suggests they will struggle in their Semifinal game against Xolos de Tijuana.
Liga MX will have a new champion
Thing’s didn’t go as planned for both teams from Nuevo Leon. While Monterrey had another disappointing end to their season, Tigres were also eliminated on Sunday by Santos Laguna.
What a way for the Guerreros to show heart. Tigres had taken a 2-0 lead into the first leg, but thanks to a 2-0 victory in the second leg, Santos qualified due to their better positioning in the table. Djaniny Tavares, who has been a constant irritant for opposing defenders all season, managed to squeeze a long-range effort past Nahuel Guzman.
Santos Laguna now hope their victory over the defending champions creates a wave of excitement through Torreon. Considering how bad Santos finished the regular season, this is their genuine chance of regaining their form and getting back into championship form.
Semifinals look set to be entertaining ones
At this point in the Liguilla, it would be foolish to count any team out. Even Xolos de Tijuana, who look like the weakest team on paper, possess a defensive playing style that could well take them all the way to the final.
Of course, most eyes will be on Club América and Santos Laguna. Both teams started the campaign hot, but gradually lowered their level of play as the Liguilla approached. Now, both teams are coming off a huge wins in the Quarterfinals and will face off for a chance at making the Liga MX Final.