Here are your five conclusions from the tenth week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Apertura.
Unimpressive Club América punish Puebla late
What was suppose to be a bogey game turned into a victory, as a ten-man Club América defeated Puebla 3-2 at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc on Friday night. La Franja threatened to make it nine straight games without a defeat against las Águilas, but a Bruno Valdez goal in injury time gave all three points to the visiting side.
Puebla twice had to fight back from a goal down, and seemingly looked like the better team across 90 minutes. So while Club América was the team to claim victory, lots of fans will view this as a bad performance from las Águilas.
In truth, América should have done better, and you get the feeling that if they play like this in the Liguilla, they will once again be let down. In all, it was a reminder that América has a tendency to find ways to win close games, but these type of performances might not be enough if they want to win the Liga MX title.
Toluca make it three straight against Necaxa
Toluca made it three straight Liga MX wins on Saturday after beating Necaxa 3-2 at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. If anyone still had any doubts, it looks like the Diablos Rojos will once again be in the discussion come late November. After a timid and inconsistent start to the Apertura, Toluca are playing like a team that can cause real damage in the Liguilla. The Diablos Rojos have offered several warning shots already, beating defending champions Santos Laguna and defeating Tigres at the Estadio Universitario, which means you shouldn’t be entirely surprised if they end up taking out the air of one of your more media-friendly teams.
Rubens Sambueza in particular keeps playing at a high level, notching another assist to make it three on the season in only six games. Sambu, however, seems to always be on the end of some questionable refereeing decisions, but this just comes down as one of the drawbacks of having one of the best players to ever step foot in Liga MX.
Ambriz-era off to a bad start in rainy Guanajuato
The numbers in León had been showing for some time now that the team needed a change of leadership. It finally happened on Wednesday when Gustavo Diaz was replaced by Ignacio Ambriz as manager of the club. If there was a game in which you’d hope Diaz’s successor would make his debut against, it was this one. Lobos BUAP has been suffering from the same shortcoming as León, and rumor has it coach Juan Francisco Palencia has been in the hot seat for the last two weeks.
But rather than Ambriz’s radical shift from Diaz’s attacking football to a more defensive one showing its first signs, Palencia got the best of him. Sure, the rain didn’t help and the match was suspended for more than half an hour, but all Lobos BUAP needed was a fluky 88th minute goal to take all three points from Guanajuato.
León’s collective problems won’t be fixed overnight, and the logical thing to do is wait. That said, it will take something special to see León back in the Liguilla this season.
Refereeing decisions prove costly in Chivas vs Querétaro
This season has been altogether a mess when it comes to officiating. It used to be bad, but there has been a notable drop in quality in this Apertura. Perhaps no game exemplified this more than the Chivas vs. Querétaro game. The referee was the architect of some terrible decision making and it ended up costing Guadalajara the most. First, a legitimate goal from Gael Sandoval was called back for an apparent offside. Then Chivas were awarded a dodgy penalty for a tackle on Alan Pulido. After Chivas took a 1-0 lead, the referee once again decided to leave his mark on the game, calling a second dubious penalty. This time the benefited team was Querétaro, who with the last kick of the game rescued a 1-1 draw.
In reality, Chivas were the better team, and this most probably should have ended in a Rebaño Sagrado win. Now Chivas missed the opportunity to overtake Gallos Blancos in the table and because of it they find themselves sitting outside a playoff position. When refereeing decisions are going to have this sort of impact, it is only fair to ask of better from the league when it comes to officiating. It is putting teams at a disadvantage and it could potentially hurt them in the long run.
Violence mars Clasico Regio
Another Clasico Regiomontano marred by violence. That’s how this Clasico will be remembered. Much of the headlines on this one will be about the pre-match incidents that occurred a few kilometers from the stadium and left a fan fighting for his life.
Obviously, this is not the kind of stuff you want to see associated with Liga MX, and it’s a shame we even have to talk about this. The fans that committed such heinous act should be taken accountable to the fullest extent of the law and banned from all Liga MX stadiums for life. And for the Rayados fans that openly chanted death threats in the away end following the incident, Liga MX should take matters in their own hands and put forth an exemplary punishment.
As for the match itself, it didn’t come close to living up to expectations. The match ended scoreless and under a chorus of boos from the Estadio Universitario. It was a Clasico Regio to forget.