Chivas pulled off a surprising 2-1 win over Leon on Saturday, ending their record-breaking winning streak at 12 games. Chivas took a defensive approach, but it proved successful against a Leon team that was never comfortable on the pitch and got weighed down by their streak. Chivas will now have a tougher test in their last game of the regular season when they face Tigres away in Monterrey, while Leon will try to close out the season as they eye the playoffs against their “brothers” Pachuca.
From the start, it looked like the 6 x 1 ticket sale helped stop a Leon “invasion” because, although there were a lot of away fans, it looked like a bigger crowd of Chivas supporters compared to the past games in Guadalajara.
The game started with Chivas sitting back on a Leon team that was clearly superior. The defensive display didn’t seem to please many fans as it made for a tough game to watch with the only early excitement being two long passes that both teams goalkeepers had to come out to clear.
There was a bit of controversy, however, when it looked like Jean Meneses got brought down in the area and the ref went to the VAR, only to not give the penalty to Leon. The halftime whistle blew as Chivas did a good defensive job against a Leon that should’ve done better against this type of opponent.
The second half looked like it would have a similar script but against the run of play, Chivas opened the scoring. A cross was badly defended by Leon and the ball fell to Alan Pulido, who passed it to Isaac Brizuela who couldn’t reach it. Nonetheless, the Leon defender crashed the ball against him before eventually falling to Michael Perez, whose shot was deflected into the net for the 1-0.
It wouldn’t take long for Leon to tie the game when Hedgardo Marin (whose level has dropped immensely) made a terrible mistake, leaving the ball for Jose Juan Macias, who scored with a left footed shot. Macias, who is still owned by Chivas and supposedly had some problems last season in the Chivas locker room, didn’t celebrate his goal to honor his Chivas past.
A couple of minutes later, Macias got brought down and Rubens Sambueza started a mini’-fight with the Chivas players. The goal seemed to really hurt Chivas as they started to break down in the defensive end.
Then, once against the run of play, Pulido broke the offside trap, and while it looked like he was going to maybe get his shot blocked, Miguel Herrera brought him down for a penalty kick. Pulido converted it and Chivas took the lead again.
Leon moved things ny taking out Angel Mena (their best player and leading scorer but who had a very bad game) and going on the offensive, while Chivas brought in a defender in Jair Pereira for Gael Sandoval, showing they were going to sit back.
Joel Campbell came close for Leon with a great long range shot that just went inches wide. In a corner kick, Yairo Moreno missed another great chance after another mistake by Marin left him wide open but he skied the ball.
As the clock wind down, Leon kept pushing for a goal to keep their streak alive. Eventually, Jean Meneses had a long range shot just go over the top bar, and in the end Chivas held on to get the win in their final home game.
It seemed that Leon’s fans attempt to “invade” Chivas turned out to bite them. Chivas attempt to thwart them proved successful, as they not only had a lot more supporters than Leon than past games but they were overly supportive and it seemed to light a fire under the players. This coupled with the the defensive approach in which Tomas Boy coached team seemed to have suprised Leon.
Leon will now have to pay a lot more attention to prevent something like this from happening against the stronger teams they should face in the Liguilla, while Chivas will try to close out their season and hope they get back on track for the next.