Here are your five conclusions from the sixth and seventh week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Apertura.
Chivas cap off a perfect week against rivals Atlas
Thanks to an Orbelin Pineda golazo, Chivas made it 3/3 on Friday as they completed the sweep with a 1-0 win over Atlas in the Clasico Tapatio. The last seven days couldn’t have been more perfect for Chivas. After earning their first win of the season against Veracruz, they clinched their first home win in almost a year before embarrassing their crosstown rivals in the Estadio Jalisco.
Atlas arrived to Clasico Tapatio having been unable to score a single goal in the Apertura, and against Chivas, they completed the record for longest scoring drought to start a campaign.
Admittedly, Chivas schedule wasn’t the most difficult, but the Goats now find themselves very much in the fight for a place in the Liguilla. There is a sense of confidence in the team now, and as we approach the second half of the regular season, they are definitely a team to keep an eye out for.
Pumas UNAM fail to beat nine-man Club América
If Chivas’s week was perfect, Pumas UNAM’s was a nightmare. After falling at home during their midweek game against Querétaro, the Universitarios failed to take advantage of an undisciplined América side and had to settle for a 2-2 draw at the Estadio Azteca.
Pumas UNAM’s promising start to the season is looking more and more like a a big fluke, and even when the odds seemed to be stacked in their favor, they couldn’t handle the task of beating a nine-man América side. With the score 2-1 in Pumas’s favor, substitute Henry Martin headed home a late equalizer to rescue a draw for las Águilas.
Of course, it was far from a perfect week for América as well. Miguel Herrera, who continues to boast of having zero defeats in the Clasico Capitalino, will not be happy with the team’s recent performances. Las Águilas have now gone three straight games without a victory, including a midweek defeat to Club León.
Querétaro rise in the league table
Another one of those teams that had a successful week in Liga MX was Querétaro. The Gallos Blancos won’t receive too much buzz after beating Pumas UNAM and Lobos BUAP, but they are now seventh in the league table and tied with 11 points with the Universitarios and Club América.
Rafael Puente Jr.’s men have been unusually consistent this season, with their only defeats coming away from home to Monterrey and Club León. Considering their last Liguilla appearance was the 2015 Liga MX Clausura Final when Ronaldinho was still in the team, which seems like a small eternity these days, staying in a top-eight position looks like a mammoth task for Puente Jr.
That said, aside from Atlas and Lobos BUAP, this Liga MX season looks like will be open to just about every team. Heck, even Veracruz got a win this week and they are a complete mess.
León and Boselli make it two straight wins
Continuing with the theme of teams with a positive ending to their week, Club León followed up their midweek victory over Club América with a 2-1 win over Toluca at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. It’s hard to know how seriously to take these two wins by la Fiera. As the last few tournaments have shown, León can go from being the best team in Mexico one week to being the worst the next.
If anything, special praise has to be reserved for Mr. León himself, Mauro Boselli. The Argentine scored both goals against América and then scored the winner vs. Toluca. Boselli is by all means already a legend in Guanajuato and arguably one of the best foreigners to ever play in Liga MX. In total, Boselli has scored 102 goals for La Fiera, 24 away from becoming the team’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Honors even between league leaders and defending champs
Cruz Azul’s undefeated run continued on Sunday as they settled for a 1-1 draw with defending champions Santos Laguna. Billed as one of the matches of the weekend, the Estadio Corona witnessed an entertaining affair that didn’t see it’s first goal until late in the second half before Deinner Quiñones equalized with five minutes to go.
It was another measured performance from the Cementeros who continue to pass all sorts of tests under Pedro Caixinha. On the other hand, while Santos Laguna were unable to spoil the return of their former manager to the Estadio Corona, they too have shown promising things this season. It was their second draw in a row, but they continue to play with the same essence that made them Liga MX champions last season. As the Univision commentators put it at the end of the match, don’t be surprised if these two teams face off again in the Liguilla.