Chivas got their first win at home of the season, defeating Necaxa by a score of 2-1. It was a controversial last minute game that seems to breathe life into Chivas’ coach Victor Manuel Vucetich, who had been severely questioned after a string of terrible performances. Necaxa fans would feel robbed by controversy surrounding both Chivas goals, especially the second. Both teams will have a FIFA break before returning to action where Chivas will travel to Mexico City to face Pumas while Necaxa will travel to face Queretaro.
Chivas started the match with the return of Alejandro Mayorga to the starting lineup for Miguel Ponce, but Uriel Antuna remained on the bench. Necaxa came with their normal lineup led by Rodrigo Aguirre. Necaxa had the first big opportunity when a long ball into the area went to Luis Garcia, who tried to lower it and instead got off a shot. Chivas’ goalkeeper Raul Gudiño, made the save, but the rebound fell into the path of Angel Sepulveda who got off a left footed shot that was brilliantly saved by Gudiño. It was a great opportunity that Necaxa should have done more with. Chivas had the ball but weren’t creating much until Jesus Sanchez came close with a long range shot that just went inches wide from scoring. Minutes later the first controversy would come after a cross into the area was headed by Aguirre and deflected by the arm of Jesus Sanchez. The ref called the penalty kick, even with all the Chivas protests and later went to check on VAR, but the call wasn’t changed. Alejandro Zendejas stepped up to take it but his left footed shot went wide and Necaxa had wasted a huge opportunity. Necaxa had a drop off after the missed penalty, but although Chivas had more possession, they continued to struggle in creating anything offensive. Necaxa had a good opportunity when a cross into the area was misjudged by both Gudiño and Antonio Briseño, but Garcia failed to get to the ball in what could have been a wide open shot. Later the ball fell in the area and Sepulveda got off a good right footed shot that forced Gudiño to make a great save. Then a minute later Chivas opened the scoring. Alexis Vega made a great run to start a counter attack. He then found Jesus Ricardo Angulo, who made a great pass into the area into the path of Isaac Brizuela. Brizuela got a right footed shot past Necaxa’s goalkeeper Luis Malagon for the 1-0 lead. It came totally against the run of play, and minutes later it would be another controversial decision when replays showed that the play prior to the goal, Briseño had handled the ball. It could have been ruled that it was too long before the goal came although play hadn’t been stopped after it and the goal could have been called off because of it. Chivas took a lead that they might not have deserved, but they had regardless.
The second half started with Necaxa subbing out Arturo Sepulveda for Alan Medina as they tried to get the tie. Like the first half, the match continued to be very even. Then to the surprise of everybody, Luis Garcia got a strong shot from outside the area that would go past Gudiño for the 1-1. Replays showed that the shot caught Gudiño by surprise and that he should have done better on the play. Needing to respond, Chivas made their first movements. They subbed out Jesus Molina and Alexis Vega for Uriel Antuna and Carlos Cisneros. Once again Vucetich would baffle everybody by subbing out his most talented player in Vega for Cisneros, a player who has struggled during the season and most of his career. Necaxa answered by subbing out Alonso Escoboza for Maximiliano Salas. Chivas got a shot off from Antuna but it would be easily saved by Malagon. Chivas then subbed out Isaac Brizuela for Fernando Beltran. Necaxa started to sit back as Chivas got control of the possession and looked for the win more enthusiastically. Off of a corner kick, Angel Zaldivar got a free header but it went well wide. Necaxa started to look like they were faltering, and thus they sent two more changes to turn things around. Rodrigo Aguirre and Luis Garcia were subbed out for Mauro Quiroga and Fernando Meza. Chivas looked to be close again when a Jesus Ricardo Angulo shot almost got deflected into the net, but it went wide. Necaxa had their best opportunity when Quiroga got a ball down in the area for Ruben Gonzalez, but his shot went well wide. Chivas responded with a good shot from Cisneros that Malagon barely saved after the ball bounced off his body. Fans in the stands started with their typical chant of “Fuera Vuce” as they criticized their coach once again. Chivas subbed out Jesus Ricardo Angulo and Jesus Sanchez for Jesus Godinez and Gilberto Sepulveda. Then in the last minute of play, Luis Olivas tried to reach for a ball and was deemed to have been pulled down by Agustin Oliveros, so the referee gave a penalty. The ref went to VAR and kept the decision. Zaldivar stepped up to take the penalty, and his left footed shot was stopped by Malagon. In the more controversial call, the ref ordered it to be taken again because Malagon’s feet had not been on the line. The second time, Zaldivar took the same left footed shot but Malagon had gone to his right this time and so Zaldivar scored the 2-1, giving Chivas the controversial win.
Chivas got three points they really needed and Coach Vucetich got a result that should keep his job safe. Yet once again Chivas’ level of play was a disappointment. A tie would have been the fair result, and the controversial way they got the victory will leave a sour taste for many fans. Vucetich will get the advantage of a week off and their return will be against another struggling team in Pumas. Yet, the fans are still not happy and it looks like when they return, it will be a similar situation than the one they faced this Saturday. Necaxa will hope they get a better refereed game, as they hope that their improving streak doesn’t come to a close with this loss.