Chivas finished a very hectic week with a 1-0 away win against Cruz Azul. Chivas was the deserved winner over a Cruz Azul side that looks totally without answers of how to get goals. Chivas had lost badly at home against Monterrey on Wednesday, which caused Coach Michel Leaño to be fired on Thursday. Then on Friday, Chivas’ fans that went to the hotel in Mexico City where the team was staying and after Chivas players didn’t meet them, they destroyed part of the lobby in another terrible chapter of violence in Liga MX. Still, Chivas was able to get the victory and will now return to Guadalajara to play against Xolos on Tuesday, while Cruz Azul faces Queretaro away.
The first half started with Chivas first game under interim coach Ricardo Cadena, being very similar to the one they had under Leaño. Because of an injury training before the match, Fernando Beltran had to miss the match, and Angel Zaldivar took his place. A couple of minutes into the game, a long ball to Alexis Vega allowed him to get into the area, but his shot was saved by Cruz Azul’s goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado. The game was very even, with Cruz Azul having more possession but not being able to get through Chivas’ defense. A shot from outside the area from Rafael Baca came very close to going in, but it went just wide. For all of the possession that Cruz Azul had, they weren’t close to creating anything and looked as out of ideas, as they did in their scoreless tie against Pumas. After a great pass from Vega, Zaldivar got into the area and sent his shot well wide, blowing the best opportunity of the match thus far. After a pass found Vega, he was able to get into the area and scored but he was rightfully called offside. Later Vega won a ball and had a good opportunity, but like Zaldivar, he lobbed the ball well wide when getting into the area. While Chivas hadn’t played great, they’d had the better opportunities over Cruz Azul, who had more possession but didn’t do anything with it.
The second half started with Cruz Azul subbing out Luis Abram and Ivan Morales for Alejandro Mayorga and Santiago Gimenez. From outside the area, Angel Romero got off a low shot that went just wide. Later Gimenez got the ball in the area, but his shot was easily handled by Chivas’ goalkeeper Miguel Jimenez. Chivas subbed out Jesus Ricardo Angulo for Alan Torres. Torres got a chance a minute into his shift when after a pass from Zaldivar, he hit a shot that was deflected wide by Cruz Azul’s defense. On the ensuing corner kick, Christian Calderon got a wide open header and sent the ball past Jurado for the 1-0 lead. Cruz Azul subbed out Julio Cesar Dominguez and Rafael Baca for Juan Escobar and Christian Tabo. Off of a corner kick, Cruz Azul had a great counter but Escobar failed to control the ball and the counter was ended. Roberto Alvarado got the ball in the area and after a good move, he got off a right footed shot that was saved by Jurado. Then after a harsh foul from Ignacio Rivero, Alexis Vega stood up and choked him, which got him a red card. There was history between Vega and Rivero, who during a training match between the Mexican U23 team and Cruz Azul, Rivero had injured Vega and had him out for a couple of games, missing most of the Liguilla. Later Cruz Azul subbed out Rivero (who got yellow carded after the fight) for Romulo Otero. Later, Chivas subbed out Angel Zaldivar and Christian Calderon for Cesar Huerta and Miguel Angel Ponce. Cruz Azul missed a great chance when a cross into the area wasn’t connected well and deflected it off a Chivas’ defender, but Jimenez was able to save the ball and send it out for a corner kick. Chivas had their defenders sitting back as they were down to ten players, and Cruz Azul was pushing with every player looking to get the tie. Chivas then subbed out Roberto Alvarado for Jesus Sanchez. The last minutes had Cruz Azul getting the ball into the area, but Chivas was able to hold on and get their win.
Chivas had a very difficult week, but were able to come out on top with a victory to close the week out. Chivas was the better team overall and had the better chances, and they might have had a bigger margin of victory if the Vega red card hadn’t complicated things. The most worrisome thing is that Vega’s red card not only shows that they are still having problems with discipline, but that they are now out their best player for the next game and possibly even more. The fact that Vega had already been red carded for protesting against a ref and that he also started the fight against Atlas that ended up with red cards to Miguel Angel Ponce and Jairo Torres means that Vega needs to keep his emotions in check, or the team will continue to suffer for it. Chivas though will see more positive than negative on today’s game. On the other hand it will be all negative for Cruz Azul. Cruz Azul also had a bad week in which they were eliminated in the CONCACAF Champions League after failing to get a goal against Pumas, who also went down to ten players. History repeated itself against Chivas, as Cruz Azul simply looks like a team that has no answers on offense against defensive teams. The fact they failed to test Miguel Jimenez even when down to ten players at home is a bad sign for the team. They will need to improve away to Queretaro, although they get the benefit that because of the ban, Queretaro will have no fans in the stands. Chivas meanwhile return home to face Xolos, in a match were they hope to keep improving and to show that Saturday’s game wasn’t a one off.