Here are your five conclusions from the fourth week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Apertura.
Toluca end Tigres’s unbeaten streak at home
Toluca produced one of the surprises of the tournament as the Diablos Rojos defeated Tigres 2-1 at the Estadio Universitario to end their unbeaten streak at home at 29 games. It was a surprise given that Toluca came in as heavy underdogs and without arguably their two best players, Alfredo Talavera and Rubens Sambueza.
The match, however, will be remembered by a horrible performance from referee Roberto Garcia Orozco. He was inconsistent with his decision making, and the defining moment of the match came in the 23rd minute when Guido Pizarro was sent off for a play very similar to one a few minutes before where Orozco decided to give Enrique Triverio a yellow card for leaving Jorge Torres Nilo bloodied up and needing assistance. Eventually, Tigres went down to 9 men and went on to lose despite a courageous second half. Rarely is there games where you can genuinely blame the referee for conditioning the match. This was one of them.
Club América keep on rolling with win against Monterrey
Speaking of red cards, Monterrey’s Stefan Medina got sent off in the 30th minute, and Club America earned their third straight victory of the season with a 3-0 win over Monterrey. There is not much more to say about this one. It was a match that from the beginning was scripted as the most appealing inside Week 4, but thanks to the early red card, it ended up being a comfortable win for Miguel Herrera’s men. Perhaps the most important thing here is that las Águilas keep getting offensive production from all of their players. This time it was three different goalsorers: Roger Martinez, Bruno Valdez, and Andres Ibargüen. Tougher tests await América, but for now, Águilas fans don’t have much to complain about.
Pachuca breathe a sigh of relief with scoreless draw
Pachuca have gone winless in their first four matches of the season, but at least they got their first point of the season after a scoreless draw with Pumas UNAM on Sunday. Pumas came into this match as the league leaders but played far from it an a dreadful match at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario that was marred by heavy rain.
Pachuca have been far from brilliant this season, but the draw will give coach Pako Ayestaran some breathing room following defeats in the first three games. The Tuzos made a late transfer window splash this week by signing Argentine forward Leonardo Ulloa from Leicester City. It will obviously takes me time for him to adapt to his new team, but Pachuca have been lacking goals ever since Hirving “Chucky” Lozano left. It is welcomed signing fo a team that has lost its shine in recent seasons.
Chivas home curse continues
On paper, this seemed like the perfect game for Chivas to end their winless streak at home. They were coming off a slight high after a 2-2 draw with Toluca, while Santos arrived on the back of a tumultuous week that saw their league winning coach hand his resignation following an alleged physical altercation with one of his players. As a colleague put it, how could Chivas lose to a team that “just had a Royal Rumble backstage”? Chivas found a way and the defending champs came from a goal down to snatch all three points in Zapopan. It is now 10 months without a league win for Chivas at home, totaling to eight defeats and three draws, and things don’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
Cruz Azul stay unbeaten with a late goal
Cruz Azul put in a courageous performance on Sunday as they were able to overcome a first half sending off to earn late draw versus Xolos de Tijuana. In truth, it was a deserved point for La Maquina, who even with a one less player and having conceded a controversial goal found a way back into the game with another solid performance.
It is safe to say that tactically speaking Cruz Azul have been the best side in this young Liga MX Apertura. Most importantly, mentally the team looks its strongest in years. Cruz Azul’s real tests will be coming later in the season, but the draw at Tijuana was further proof that things are going towards the right direction under Pedro Caixinha.