Here are your five conclusions from the eighth week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Apertura.
Puebla upset Monterrey
It seems like we say this every six months, but this Liga MX season is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable in recent times. We have learned to expect the unexpected in Liga MX, and that exactly happened on Friday when Puebla defeated Monterrey 2-1 at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc. On the face of it, the win may have not been that shocking if you consider Puebla had already defeated Toluca at home this season, but Monterrey arrived to this game having lost just once and with arguably a squad vastly superior to that of la Franja’s.
The problem for Monterrey is that they continue to be missing their star striker Rogelio Funes Mori. You can’t diminish the importance of the big Argentine. Without him, Monterrey are just a completely different team.
From a Puebla perspective, however, coming from a goal down to win the late in the game will, no doubt, be a morale booster, especially considering they will head into the international break just three points away from eighth place Toluca. With just four points separating 3rd from 13th (Puebla), this likely won’t be the last surprise we see this season.
Top of the league Cruz Azul
At this point, if you aren’t convinced by Cruz Azul, then there must be something seriously wrong with you (or you are just a Club América fan). It’s not just the fact that they continue to be the only undefeated team left in the Apertura, it’s that they continue to pass every test placed in front of them. Good teams, red cards, bad refereeing, nothing seems to be able to stop this Cementeros team. On Saturday, they were in both ends of some questionable refereeing decisions, but thanks to another brilliant display from Elias Hernandez and Roberto Alvarado, Cruz Azul were able to clinch their sixth win of the season. That makes it 20 points in eight games for Pedro Caixinha’s men, including only three goals conceded all season. Just put all your money on the Cementeros right now. This might be their year.
Pumas bounce back in Guanajuato
Pumas UNAM regained some of the intensity and purpose they lost following last weekend’s embarrassing Clasico Capitalino draw over Club América, as they earned a 2-1 win over Club León on Saturday.
It’s easy to so why Pumas coach David Patiño attracts a lot of criticism, but like it or not, the Universitarios are currently fourth in the league table with 14 points. Chilean Felipe Mora was once again decisive, scoring both of Pumas’s goals, and while the Universitarios almost bottled it again after a León red card, they did just enough to get the three points in León.
La Fiera were admittedly as bad as you’d expect after getting an important win last weekend. History suggests that León are as inconsistent as gas prices, and with their fourth defeat in eight games, you have to wonder if León are seriously considering replacing manager Gustavo Diaz during the international break.
Atlas fail to shock Tigres
The good news is Atlas finally scored a goal. The bad news is they are still winless. Facing Tigres at the Estadio Universitario was never going to be easy, but they did manage to give the Felinos a scare after taking the lead in the second minute. There was never any doubting Tigres would at least equalize, although it did take them 67 minutes to finally get on the scoreline before scoring two more times and winning the game 3-1.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for the Rojinegros. This might have been the knockout blow for coach Gerardo Espinoza, but no matter who takes over the team, radical change seem unlikely. At the end of the day, Atlas will undoubtedly find a way to avoid relegation. This is Liga MX. The problem is they have morphed into just about everything that is wrong in this league at the cost of one of the most passionate fanbases in all of Mexico.
Pachuca spoil Chivas winning run
Liga MX giveth and Liga MX taketh away. After gaining three straight wins, Chivas returned to losing ways as the Rojiblancos fell 3-1 to Pachuca at the Estadio Chivas. A lot can be said about Miguel “Wacho” Jimenez’s error that led to the Tuzos’s go-ahead goal and the throw-in that finished with Pachuca’s third, but that would diminishing the great work of Pako Ayestaran’s men. Pachuca tormented Chivas through the course of the 90 minutes, and in particular, they keyed into Chivas’s right side, constantly pressing the Rebaño’s stronger side. It was an intelligent performance from the Tuzos, who now find themselves in a run of five straight games without a defeat after losing their first three. They fully deserved this win and their newly earned place in the top half of the league table.