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Liga MX Femenil recap: 2021 Apertura, Week 8

While the Olympics ended a few weeks ago, there were olímpicos in this week’s matches.

Pachuca v Monterrey - Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Jam Media/Getty Images

While it’s becoming ever more apparent who the contenders and pretenders are in this Liga MX Femenil season, it should be noted that even the teams at the bottom of the table are a couple of results from launching themselves back into the thick of things. For instance in Week 5 Necaxa was in 17th place, but after two wins in three games they’re in 14th and just four points out of a playoff spot. Of course there’s still a lot of soccer left to be played and teams can go cold, but even teams in the bottom third should gain confidence knowing a hot streak could propel them into the Liguilla.

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 1, Tigres UANL 2: Tigres remains perfect, but credit to Querétaro for putting forth a performance they could be proud of. Vanessa Córdoba turned in a good performance for Querétaro, but in the 32nd minute Belén Cruz slipped past the defense and beat Córdoba one-on-one for the game’s first goal. Then in stoppage time at the end of the first half another defense slip by Querétaro left Stephany Mayor and Katty Martínez in a two-on-one with a defender. Mayor drew the defender to the left and found Martínez alone on the right, and “Katty Killer” got her tenth goal in eight games. Querétaro got one back in the 53rd minute when Jacquelín García split the defense and fired one past Ceci Santiago, but that’s all they could muster.

Mazatlán FC 1, FC Juárez 2: Juárez picked up their first win of the season while Mazatlán didn’t. Las Cañoneras got the first goal when Montserrat Peña got onto the end of a long ball from the defense and hit a tailing shot that beat Mariana Zárraga. But two minutes later Miah Zuazua hit an olímpico to tie it up. It looked at one point like Mazatlán had tied it up when goalkeeper Diana García made a save on a shot by tipping the ball up into the air on the goal line and catching it, however it appeared like García may have caught it behind the line and moved it forward. Since there is no VAR, the play was allowed to stand and no goal was awarded. Deep in stoppage time Brenda Alvarado got to a loose rebound off of a corner kick and hit it into the net for the game winner.

Cruz Azul 2, Club Atlético de San Luis 0: A rather dominant win by Cruz Azul, who have been struggling lately. The home side looked like they had taken the lead in the 14th minute when Dalia Molina knocked one in but her goal was waved off because she was offside. In the 24th minute it was San Luis who had a goal called offside when Misdiel González’ header was nullified. Cruz Azul broke through in the 72nd when trailing runner Karime Abud was rewarded with a pass, cut back across the grain, and hit a swerving shot to put her team up for good. Michelle Montero iced it for Cruz Azul with a header in the first seconds of stoppage as La Máquina picked up their first win in five games.

Guadalajara 1, Atlas 0: Chivas picking up their seventh win of the season over archrivals Atlas. Joana Robles almost put Atlas up in the 16th when she knocked a pass from Alison González off of the crossbar. The game was fairly even until the 56th minute when Gabriela Valenzuela got tangled up with Julissa Dávila in the box and went down. A penalty was awarded, but replays showed that Dávila’s contact was minimal at best. Licha Cervantes nonetheless converted the penalty for the game’s lone score.

América 2, UNAM Pumas 2: A clásico that lived up to the billing as América and Pumas end in a 2-2 draw that could have gone either way. While the first half was full of good saves from Renata Masciarelli and Melany Villeda, the second half belonged to the scorers. Dani Espinosa got her fourth goal of the season in the 48th on a great run and pass from Sarah Luebbert. América doubled the lead in the 53rd when a great build-up lead to a Montserrat Hernández goal, but Pumas came back. Laura Herrera got a touch on the ball that floated it over Masciarelli in the 74th, and then in the 86th Dinora Garza hit one from distance that looked to catch Masciarelli wrong-footed for the equalizer.

Puebla F.C. 2, Santos Laguna 3: A wild one that saw Santos pick up their third win in a row and remain unbeaten in their last seven. Santos got the scoring started early when Daniela Delgado fought through the Puebla defense and hit a shot past Brissa Rangel in the second minute. A mistake at the other end by Nicole Buenfil lead to Maria Aceves shooting into an open net in the 23rd. Then right before the end of the first half Verónica Martins was sprung on a ball from deep and chipped Buenfil to make the lead 2-1 at the break. Santos gave up a penalty at the start of the second half, but Aceves’ shot hit off of the post and went out of bounds. Then in the 70th minute Alexia Villanueva equalized when she got onto a nice cutback pass from Nancy Quiñones on the left. Villanueva then was the hero once more when she got onto a great pass from Mariela Jiménez on the right and shot past Rangel for the game winner in the 89th.

Toluca 0, Necaxa 1: Soccer is a cruel game sometimes. Despite Toluca having the much better game, it was Necaxa escaping with all three point on the evening. The lone goal of the match came in the 20th minute when Wendy Toledo went to make a save and ran into one of her own defenders. Toluca couldn’t clear the ball, and Flor Rodríguez eventually corralled it and hit a shot that hit off of Toledo’s midsection and went into the net. Necaxa has won two of their last three and now sit just four points out of a playoff spot.

Pachuca 0, Monterrey 1: Another solid win by Monterrey. Diana Evangelista almost put Rayadas up in the seventh minute when she hit one off of the crossbar. Rayadas had several more good chances, including Aylín Aviléz getting stopped at point-blank range by Gabriela Machuca in the 26th minute. Evangelista broke the deadlock in the 28th when she got to the rebound of a free kick and knocked it in off of the far post from close range. Evangelista hit the crossbar again in the 38th minute, and Aviléz almost knocked in the rebound but Machuca was able to make the stop. In the second half, both Machuca and Alex Godínez came up big for their respective teams and Evangelista’s first half goal was the eventual game winner as Monterrey remains undefeated on the season.

Club Tijuana 4, León 0: Complete domination by a Tijuana side that is looking like a dark horse to make some noise from a lower seed in the Liguilla. Dulce Alvarado put Xolos Femenil on the board in the 29th on an olímpico. Then it was Renae Cuéllar with a hat-trick, first converting a penalty in the 32nd before getting a tap-in off of a nice pass from Alvarado in the 65th minute and a header off of a corner kick in the 71st.

Notes and other things:

It’s encouraging to see the growth of the women’s game the world over. Of course I tend to focus on the Americas, but the professionalization of women’s soccer the world over is proving to be a game changer. Clubs are able to upgrade their women’s teams relatively easily, and with the increased focus on both club and international competitions, it’s an exciting time for the women’s game.

Mazatlán unveiled their U17 team.

The Brasileirão Femenino semifinals finished up with Palmeiras thrashing Internacional 5-1 on aggregate and Corinthians beating Ferroviária 3-1. Palmeiras will host the first leg on Sunday, September 12 and Corinthians hosting the second leg on Sunday, September 26.

In Colombia, Deportivo Cali beat Santa Fe 4-1 on the road in the first leg of the Liga Dimayor Femenino Final. The second leg will be in Cali on Sunday, September 12.

Japan’s WE League starts up this weekend.

UAI Urquiza femenino’s technical staff and even the club president were assaulted after a 3-0 win against Rosario Central. There is no place for this in soccer, and it’s especially damaging given how far fútbol femenino has come in Argentina in the past few years.

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Next week (all records are in W-D-L format, all times as listed):

Saturday, September 11:

Cruz Azul (3-2-3) vs. Toluca (2-1-5) - 12:00 PM - TUDN (United States and Mexico)

Sunday, September 12:

FC Juárez (1-3-4) vs. América (6-1-1) - 10:00 AM - TUDN (Mexico)

Monterrey (7-1-0) vs. Club Tijuana (4-3-1) - 10:30 AM

Puebla F.C. (3-0-5) vs. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (1-3-4) - 12:00 PM - TVC Deportes (Mexico)

Club Atlético de San Luis (1-1-6) vs. Atlas (3-2-3) - 5:00 PM - ESPN (Mexico)

Santos Laguna (5-2-1) vs. Guadalajara (7-1-0) - 9:00 PM - FOX Sports (Mexico)

Tigres UANL (8-0-0) vs. Pachuca (2-3-3) - 9:00 PM - TUDN (Mexico)

Monday, September 13:

Necaxa (2-1-5) vs. Mazatlán FC (0-1-7) - 5:00 PM - TUDN (Mexico)

León (2-1-5) vs. UNAM Pumas (1-4-3) - 7:00 PM - FOX Sports (Mexico)