Chivas surprised Mazatlan FC with a late goal to grab a 1-0 victory. It wasn’t the best performance and Mazatlan had been the better team, but Chivas took advantage to grab three key points that books their place in the repechaje. The tie really complicates Mazatlan’s chances as they sit in twelfth place, the final repechaje zone but have three teams that could eliminate them from the repechaje if they get a win this weekend. Chivas will now have to wait to see which rival they will face in the repechaje, and where they will travel to as they are guaranteed to be the visiting team.
The first half started with once again Chivas coming out with only one forward in Cesar Huerta, although this time Uriel Antuna was in from the start. Mazatlan came out with their regular lineup too. The first minutes were very even, with neither team showing much hurry even when they both were in need of a positive result. Mazatlan had a good opportunity when Chivas lost the ball, but Daniel Amador decided to pass the ball instead of shooting, wasting a great chance. Minutes later, Amador would be tripped by Chivas’ goalkeeper Raul Gudiño and a penalty kick was given. The referee went to VAR and called it off, saying that Gudiño had gotten to the ball before tripping and it wasn’t a foul. Chivas could have had a great opportunity when Mazatlan’s goalkeeper Nicolas Vikonis had the ball slip off his hands, but Chivas defender Gilberto Sepulveda was the only one who noticed and couldn’t get to the ball for the free shot before Vikonis was able to clear it. Roberto Meraz got off a shot that forced Gudiño to make a good save. The half ended and it was a disappointment, with very little action and almost all of it being done by Mazatlan.
The second half started with neither team making changes, which was strange after such a passive first half. Mazatlan had the first chance after a shot from Gonzalo Freitas forced Gudiño to make a save. Later from outside the area, Camilo Sanvezzo got off a left footed shot that Gudiño had to make a good save off. Chivas subbed out Miguel Ponce and Fernando Beltran for Alejandro Mayorga and Alexis Vega, who was returning from injury. Chivas finally had a good opportunity when a cross from Antuna found Sepulveda, whose right footed volley forced Vikonis to make a great save. Later a shot from Huerta forced Vikonis to make another save. Mazatlan subbed out Daniel Amador for Giovanni Augusto. Augusto got off a shot from outside the area that would go just wide. Mazatlan then subbed out Bryan Colula for Gael Sandoval, while Chivas subbed out Jesus Molina for Angel Zaldivar. There was a scuffle between Nicolas Diaz and Uriel Antuna after a foul, but it wouldn’t get past a yellow card for Antuna (Diaz had a yellow card from earlier in the match). Mazatlan came close again when a free kick shot from Sanvezzo went just wide of the goal. Mazatlan subbed out Ivan Moreno and Camilo Sanvezzo for Michael Rangel and Alfonso Sanchez, while Chivas subbed out Cesar Huerta and Uriel Antuna for Ronaldo Cisneros and Cristian Calderon. It would pay off almost immediately for Chivas, when after a pass and from just outside the area, Angel Zaldivar got off a great left footed shot past VIkonis for the 1-0 lead. It was against the run of play, but it was a great goal that looked to book the ticket to the postseason. Mazatlan tried to get out of the hole they buried themselves in, but Chivas did a good job of clearing the danger. Mazatlan got a corner kick in the last minute but nothing came out if it, and Chivas got the win to the shock of everybody, booking their ticket against a Mazatlan that is now in real trouble.
Chivas are far from giving great performances, but regardless they did enough on Friday night to get their ticket to the repechaje. They produced few chances all game long, and it really looked like if one team was going to score, it was going to be Mazatlan. Yet in the end the great goal by Zaldivar gave the ticket to Chivas against all odds. Chivas will not be favored at all to make it into the Liguilla, but they are one step further and once they find out which rival they will face, they will plan accordingly. On the other hand, Mazatlan really complicated things for themselves. With only 20 points now, they now have three teams who would eliminate them should they get a win. To make matters worse one of them, Atletico San Luis, would eliminate them by just getting a tie against Santos. They will have a tough weekend as they wait for results to see if their season is over or not. And although they didn’t quite deserve the loss, it’s on them as they didn’t really do enough for a win either and the fair result would have been a tie. It seems they played with fire and got burned. Chivas meanwhile will give thanks, as they hope for another miracle to get to the Liguilla.