Week three of the 2020 Liga MX Clausura tournament was pure joy for Pumas fans while Pachuca fans were left wishing for better days. Here are the top storylines from this past weekend:
Pumas beat reigning champs to claim top league spot
It’s only been three weeks, but not many Liga MX watchers could have predicted Pumas, with what the club showed last season, would:
- beat the reigning Liga MX champions Monterrey with a full-strength squad (a club that just made the signing of Argentina international Matías Kranevitter official this week)
- AND finish a week at the peak of the Mexican soccer mountain
But that’s exactly what happened. Juan Pablo Vigón’s lone goal was enough to push former Real Madrid player Michel’s team past Rayados. That’s two impressive wins this season for UNAM, both at home, against Pachuca and now Monterrey. A thrilling 4-4 draw with Juarez last week is nothing to be ashamed of either. It’s still early days but Pumas have started the decade on the right foot.
Cruz Azul, Tigres back to business after poor league kickoff
Two of Mexico’s biggest teams in very different terms, Cruz Azul in popularity and Tigres in recent success, it was equally as shocking, then, when both teams entered week three still without a win. The two cement company-owned clubs would go on to hush doubters with convincing wins against Santos and Atlas, respectively.
Elías Hernández had a player-of-the-week worthy performance, knocking in a brilliant volley and adding an assist in the dominant 3-0 win for Cruz Azul while all-time Tigres top scorer André-Pierre Gignac returned from injury with a game winner. These two sleeping giants might have finally woken up. Time will tell. Both teams will be involved in the CONCACAF Champions League this season as well.
Eugenio Pizzuto’s gutting injury
This one was hard to watch. You never want any football player to suffer through any kind of traumatic abrasion. It makes it even worse when that unfortunate soul is a 17-year-old youth international, brimming with potential and making his first team debut.
Such is the sad tale of Pachuca’s Eugenio Pizzuto. The U-17 Mexican national team captain, fresh off a second place finish and bronze ball win at last year’s World Cup, came on the pitch for Los Tuzos in the 59th minute against León and was stretchered off just a few minutes later in tears with a broken bone in his leg.
According to Pachuca, Pizzuto suffered a fibula fracture along with a dislocated ankle and will require surgery. The Mexican midfielder of Italian descent will be off the pitches for a minimum of four months time.
Click here if you want to watch Pizzuto’s injury in real time. Be aware that these are graphic images that may be too strong for some viewers.
The chilling images are reminiscent of the injury that León player Luis Montes, who was on the pitch during this incident, suffered prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Pachuca (and Mexican national team) fans will hope for a speedy recovery and for Pizzuto to return even stronger to continue his rise in the sport.
Not even by cloning Esteban Cambiasso would you get a player more similar to Esteban Cambiasso than Mexico's Eugenio Pizzuto— Jack Lang (@jacklang) November 17, 2019
Goal of the Week
Angel Mena, Club León
Elias Hernandez’s first-time volley was tremendous, and Chivas’ passing play before Fernando Beltran’s goal was honorable, but León’s Angel Mena takes goal of the week for his outside-the-box strike against Pachuca.
Mena is currently top-scorer with four goals in three games.
Player of the Week
Elías Hernández, Cruz Azul
His volley almost won goal of the week and he assisted Luis Romo in scoring the final Maquina goal in their dismantling of Santos Laguna. The former Club Leon and Morelia winger also let the offense flow through him, sending four key passes, four accurate crosses and three accurate long balls, according to SofaScore. Shoutout to Juan Pablo Vigón as well, who came close to beating Hernández for this honor.
You can follow Antonio on Twitter @antonio1998__