Liga MX’s smaller clubs took center stage during week four of the competition’s Clausura tournament. Here are the weekend’s top storylines:
Cruz Azul bottle it (again) in final minute
You really can’t make this up. Unfortunately for Cruz Azul fans, La Maquina Celeste’s cabinet of flopping at crucial moments (see Cruzazuleada below) just got a new file in it. Captain Jose de Jesus Corona also has to take some of the blame.
After leading a drama-filled game for the final 40+ minutes, a late Toluca goal in the dying seconds deflated Corona and Cruz Azul and sealed a 3-3 draw for both sides.
But let’s not be too harsh on Robert Siboldi’s men. The game was far and away the match of the week. Both squads showed no love lost and continued to answer each other’s goals with their own. Elias Hernandez once again starred for Cruz Azul (despite missing a penalty) while Leo Fernandez scored a brace to fully announce himself to the Liga MX public as a player to watch this season. More on this special Uruguayan talent later.
In addition to those moments, the scenes were tremendous when second-generation Cruz Azul player Santiago Gimenez, son of former captain Christian Gimenez, scored his first Liga MX goal to open the match at just 18 years of age. Still, the Cruzazuleada examples continue to stack up against the Cementeros.
Liga MX’s elite suffer bad results to up-and-comers.
In today’s footballing landscape, the Liga MX teams that have the most clout outside their nation’s borders are undoubtedly Chivas and Club America, along with Monterrey and Tigres for their regional successes and lavish player purchases.
This week, every single one of those clubs suffered negative results to teams most might have not expected. First, Chivas continued to disappoint their fanbase when they conceded a last-minute goal to San Luis to settle for a 2-2 draw.
The following day, Clasico Nacional rivals Club America suffered a historic defeat to FC Juarez, Mexico’s youngest first-division club. America lost Jorge Sanchez early on to a red card, but nevertheless, Juarez was in the driver’s seat from start to finish and took home a 3-1 victory from the Azteca. Gabriel Caballero’s team finished the weekend atop the team-based scoring charts, level with Club Leon, with 10 goals in four games.
Over in the state of Nuevo Leon, things weren’t any better for Monterrey or Tigres. The reigning Liga MX champs suffered an away loss to a masked-up Ariel Nahuelpan and Queretaro and still has yet to win a single game this season. Their neighbors Tigres visited Pachuca and conceded two unanswered goals to gift Los Tuzos their first win of the year.
Liga MX deadline day news:
Deadline day for international transfers fell on Jan. 31 and several Mexican clubs completed their final signings for the current campaign.
- Cruz Azul replaced the departing Edgar Mendez with Ecuadorian midfielder Jonathan Borja from El Nacional.
- Club America completed its Clausura 2020 squad with Villarreal holding midfielder Santiago Caseres, who will serve as the replacement to Guido Rodriguez.
- Pachuca announced the signing of former Pumas forward Juan Manuel Iturbe, of AS Roma fame.
- Morelia announced the signing of Estudiantes de la Plata defender Gonzalo Jara, another Chilean national team veteran to link up with Jorge Valdivia.
- Former Pachuca midfielder Edwin Cardona joined Tijuana, bolstering Xolos’ squad with a world-class player on his day.
- Puebla bought the rights to Rangers forward Eduardo Herrera, who was previously on loan to Necaxa last season.
Goal of the week:
Leo Fernandez, Toluca
vs. Cruz Azul
The 21-year-old attacking mid had already gotten on the score sheet once before letting go of this banger of a shot from outside the box that left Corona in a daze. The Uruguayan already has three goals this season and has heavily contributed to Toluca’s success in the Copa MX as well.
Player of the week:
Leo Fernandez, Toluca
As much as this new signing seems like a win for Toluca, it’s an even bigger one for Tigres, who is the rightful owner of Fernandez’s card, loaning him out to Toluca for this season.
Fernandez, in the few appearances he has made, has already shown he can be one of the best offensive presences in Mexico with elite dribbling skills and superb pace that allows him to get in behind defenders with ease and take players on with success.
Tifo Football, a UK-based sports media company and YouTube channel, even mentioned Fernandez as a possible sensible transfer target for English giants Manchester United. The Uruguayan plays the same role as United’s latest signing Bruno Fernandes, and in a lot of ways plays similar to the former Sporting Lisbon captain.
Suspensions this week:
- Aldo Cruz, Tijuana - straight red card v. Atlas
- Pedro Aquino, Leon - double-yellow cards v. Morelia
- Jorge Sanchez, Club America - straight red card v. FC Juarez
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