Chivas waited until the 94th minute, but they were able to get a 1-1 tie at home against current Liga MX champions Cruz Azul. It wasn’t the best spectacle from either team, but Chivas was able to grab a point against a Cruz Azul who let down a lot of their fans by failing to hold on their lead. Both teams will now have tough matches as Chivas travels to Monterrey to face Tigres while Cruz Azul returns home where they will face their biggest rival and guaranteed first place finisher America.
The first half started with both teams coming on with strong starting lineups, but they might have been hampered by the very poor field conditions. The lousy field might have influenced the first minutes being very even, with neither team creating much of anything as they traded possession. In what could have been a dangerous chance Chivas’ keeper Raul Gudiño tried to clear the ball with a long kick and Octavio Rivero was able to sneak in and crashed into the ball but it went wide. Then after a pass into the area, Jonathan Rodriguez tried to get to the ball, but Gudiño got into the way and Rodriguez crashed into him with the ref giving a penalty kick. Replays showed that it looked like Rodriguez had dragged his feet to get knocked down by Gudiño. Jonathan Rodriguez stepped up to take the penalty and with a strong right footed shot scored the 1-0. The half ended with the first exciting minutes after one of the most boring halves of the season for either team.
The second half started with neither team making changes, which is surprising for a Chivas team that needed to get the tying goal and wasn’t playing well. They had the first opportunity when Cesar Huerta got off a shot that was deflected by a Cruz Azul defender right into the arms of Cruz Azul’s goalkeeper, Jesus Corona. Chivas subbed out Isaac Brizuela and Jesus Sanchez for Angel Zaldivar and Carlos Cisneros. Cruz Azul then subbed out Roberto Alvarado and Brayan Angulo for Yoshimar Yotun and Santiago Gimenez. Minutes later Chivas subbed out Alejandro Mayorga for Uriel Antuna. Chivas had an incredible chance when a cross into the area fell to Gilbero Sepulveda who was inches from the goal, but his pass/shot was cleared almost off the line by Rivero. Chivas seemed to be pushing Cruz Azul, but weren’t able to create much. Cruz Azul subbed out Jonathan Rodriguez and Pol Fernandez for Rafael Baca and Walter Montoya. Chivas had a free kick that found a wide open Chivas player whose header went wide. Chivas then subbed out Jesus Molina for Fernando Beltran. Chivas had a good opportunity when a good cross found Antuna, but his volley was blocked by Rivero. Cruz Azul subbed out Juan Escobar for Adrian Aldrete. After a good counter attack, Gimenez got into the area and looked to have been tripped but the referee didn’t give the penalty, and instead gave a yellow card to Gimenez. Replays showed however that it was similar to the one that was judged to be a penalty in the first half. After a couple of chippy fouls, there was a minor scuffle between Chivas and Cruz Azul players after a foul by Cisneros to Montoya. Then off of a corner kick, Gilberto Sepulveda was able to rise over the Cruz Azul defense and get a strong header past Corona for the 1-1 tie. The goal was deep into injury time and Chivas celebrated the tie, but a minute later a long ball in the area found Yotun however his left footed lob over Gudiño just went inches wide, wasting a great opportunity to get the win. Off of a free kick, Sepulveda rose to get another header but it went wide. It would be the last opportunity as Chivas left it late but were able to rescue a point at home.
It wasn’t a great performance for Chivas but their last minute “heroics” will leave fans happier in what seemed to be a very bad result. Still Chivas will need to improve a lot especially since they close out with two away matches against Tigres and Mazatlan. They are now in the Repechaje zone, but if they don’t improve, they might have just played their last home game of the season. Cruz Azul seems to have started to slump at the worst time. It’s only their third straight tie, but the problem is that the team hasn’t played well in those matches. They will now go to their biggest game of the regular season, the Clasico Joven against America, with the sour taste of getting tied by Chivas in a match where they should have done better in taking care of their lead. A bad result against America can really increase the sense of the team being in crisis just as the Liguilla is set to start.