Here are your five conclusions from the third week of play in the 2019 Liga MX Clausura.
Maxi Meza on target in win over Querétaro
Monterrey’s star signing Maximiliano Meza struck late as ten-man Monterrey came from a goal down to earn a 2-1 win over Querétaro. Gallos Blancos had opportunities to seal the win after Leonel Vangioni was sent off in the 57th minute, but Monterrey ended the game with plenty of reason to be excited with the 27-year-old Argentine. His goal underlined why Los Rayados spent big money to bring him from Independiente and was arguably one of the best goals of the weekend.
Pachuca part ways with Pako Ayestaran after América defeat
The 2019 Liga MX Clausura suffered its first firing after Pako Ayesteran was given his marching orders following a 3-0 defeat to champions Club América at the Estadio Azteca.
We know it will be Boca Juniors legend Martin Palermo who replaces Ayestaran, but the timing of Los Tuzos’ decision was a bit strange. Despite narrowly missing out on the Liguilla last season, Los Tuzos were even a vibrant side at times, usually playing a smart pressing game that at least stylistically was worth admiring.
Under current interpretation, it seems like Pachuca is gambling on immediate results, and perhaps a shakeup is what this team needs to get there. They made some smart signings during the offseason, and only time will tell if this decision was the right one.
Cruz Azul shock Tigres at the Universitario
Cruz Azul showed against Tigres why reports of their early demise were greatly exaggerated. On Saturday, La Máquina went into the Estadio Universitario and earned a shock 1-0 victory over Los Felinos.
Until this game, Cruz Azul had looked like a shadow of the team that made the Liga MX final last season, going winless in their first three matches. But against Tigres, we finally saw the typical performance we are used to from a Pedro Caixinha side.
For Tigres, their home woes continued. Usually a hard team to beat at the Estadio Universitario, this was their third defeat in nine Liga MX matches, and it happened in their 2019 Liga MX Clausura homecoming, no less. The good news is bipolar starts to their season are nothing new for Tigres, and they should starting trending up again sooner rather than later.
Chivas end the week as league leaders
Chivas moved two points clear at the top of the league table with 1-0 win over Toluca on Sunday. On current form, this was billed as one of the big matches of the weekend and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
Although Chivas took the lead thanks to a brilliant long-range effort from Alan Pulido, Toluca gave the hosts a scare when they appeared to have scored the equalizer in the 75th minute. Upon further review, however, the match officials decided to look the play over on VAR before eventually deeming that the ball didn’t entirely cross the line and cancelling the goal.
Toluca, who perhaps more than merited a share of the points, were then unable to find the equalizer, and Chivas held on for the win. What followed was a barrage of tweets and analysis of what constitutes as a goal and what doesn’t, which was a real shame for Chivas. Independently if it was a goal or not, they have showcased some real improvement under Jose Saturnino Cardozo in the last few weeks, and to their credit are deserved league leaders after only three weeks.
Oscar Pareja gets his first win in charge of Xolos
Xolos de Tijuana got their first positive performance under Oscar Pareja as the border side clinched a 1-0 win over rivals León. Rebuilding under the former FC Dallas manager was always going to take time, but despite not having the best of games in Guanajuato, this looked like a step in the right direction for the Colombian tactician.
Pareja has inherited a good enough squad that you’d think they can at least compete for place in the top half of the table. Obviously, goalkeeper Gibran Lajud was huge for Xolos, and the return of Gustavo Bou, who scored, will be a welcomed one. If Xolos are patient, there is no reason to think Pareja can’t build something good from this team, but as history has shown in recent seasons, you just never know when it comes to Tijuana.