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Liga MX Clausura Week 7: Alexis Vega grabs headlines with hat-trick, Pumas beat América

Chivas v Atlas - Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Here are your five conclusions from the seventh week of play in the 2019 Liga MX Clausura.

Cruz Azul take another stumble

Cruz Azul’s Liga MX Final hangover currently seems without a remedy as La Máquina suffered their third straight Liga MX game without a win, losing 2-1 to Santos Laguna on Saturday.

From a Cruz Azul perspective, it hasn’t been the best start to the season, and most worrying of all perhaps is that they have now lost twice at the Estadio Azteca. Last season, la Máquina owed much of their success to a nearly perfect record at home since making the Azteca their temporary stadium, but now they have lost three of four matches played there this semester.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for this group of players to find their form ahead of the Liguilla, but the shadow of last season’s failure will continue to loom large until Cruz Azul manage to string a few wins together.

León keep it rolling

Club León secured their fourth straight win of the season, defeating Toluca 3-0 at the Nou Camp to finish Week 7 amongst the top three in the league table. Ignacio Ambriz’s men are quietly one of the feel-good stories of the season, and as Liga MX history has shown, León is not a team you want to take lightly when they have a good season.

The present makeup of León’s roster continues to be one of the most intriguing in all of Liga MX, and all of this without mentioning that veteran midfielder Rubens Sambueza has been injured for large portions of the season. Moreover, many left this team for dead when Mauro Boselli decided to leave the club to play for Corinthians in Brazil, but both Angel Mena and youngster Jose Juan Macias are carrying some considerable momentum as the best scoring duo in this Clausura. They accounted for all three of the goals in the rout against Toluca.

Gignac stars in Tigres win over Necaxa

On a week where much of the focus was going to be on Chivas/Atlas and Pumas/América, Tigres vs. Necaxa was always going to be a sneaky choice for game of the week. The game certainly didn’t disappoint, as Tigres earned a narrow 3-2 win over Los Rayos, thanks to two goals from Andre-Pierre Gignac.

The story is always Andre-Pierre Gignac. The veteran frenchman continues to log heavy minutes for Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s team, and his first goal in particular was a real gem, a backheel shot into the back of the net.

The emergence of Necaxa under Guillermo Vazquez Jr. is certainly noteworthy, but when Gignac is scoring these type of goals, you are always going to have a tough time beating Tigres in any game.

Alexis Vega leads Chivas to Clásico Tapatío glory

Alexis Vega silenced his critics by scoring a hat-trick in Chivas’ 3-0 victory over Atlas. Prior to Saturday’s match, Vega had not scored a single goal for his new club, but it took him only eight minutes for him to score his first goal versus the Rojinegros.

By the second half, it was over as a contest, with Vega grabbing a second before completing his hat-trick in the 61st minute. Vega’s three-goal performance tells us a few things. Among them, the 21-year-old can score goals, but most importantly, he finally seems to be adapting to his new teammates. In his young professional career, Vega’s ability to exploit space created by others hasn’t always been the best, but here, he connected twice with Isaac Brizuela to score a goal.

Naturally, Vega’s next step as a player is to make this less of an outlier and something more normal in his arsenal. He is arguably one of the more complete young Mexican forwards in the league, and this is a reminder of just how good he can be.

Pumas UNAM grab historic win versus América

A second half Carlos Gonzalez header helped Pumas UNAM claim an unlikely 1-0 win over rivals Club América on Sunday. Pumas were playing at home in front of a raucous crowd that welcomed the return of Nico Castillo to Ciudad Universitaria for the first time since the Chilean striker controversially joined Club América during Winter transfer window.

Castillo, though, was virtually a non-factor in this game, and coincidentally, it was the guy Pumas bought to replace him that scored the only goal of the match. Gonzalez’s goal was important as it gave Pumas their first win over Las Águilas since April of 2015. At the same time, the win gave Miguel Herrera his first Clásico defeat in charge of América since taking over the team for a second time in 2017.