Chivas battled back to a great performance in the second half to get a 4-1 victory over Pumas. Chivas were deserved winners and booked a place in the Quarterfinals, where they will face two clasicos against their city rivals Atlas. Pumas ends a historically disastrous week in which they lost the CONCACAF Champions League final against Seattle Sounders and ended a 16 year winning streak for Liga MX, and now get eliminated in Liga MX with a terrible score. Chivas will have a tough battle against Atlas but have the momentum going as they won every single game since interim coach Ricardo Cadena got the job.
The first half started with Pumas coming out with a solid lineup, but with a couple of young players like Santiago Trigos and Jorge Ruvalcaba starting because of injury and suspensions to starters. Chivas came out with their best lineup, and had the boost of the return to the bench of injured Jose Juan Macias. After a couple of even minutes, a terrible mistake gave Chivas the lead. A longball into the area was terribly covered by Trigos, who allowed Cristian Calderon to get to the ball and with a right footed shot, poked the ball and got it past Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera for the 1-0 lead. After a couple of minutes, Pumas was able to strike back. A great longball pass from Arturo Ortiz through the center was lowered in a great fashion by Diogo de Oliveira, who got past Jesus Orozco and then got off a left footed shot past Chivas’ goalkeeper Miguel Jimenez for the 1-1 equalizer. Pumas started to get some more chances, and a cross in the area was volleyed by Juan Ignacio Dinenno but blocked. Then off of a counter attack, a pass into the area found Jesus Ricardo Angulo but Talavera made a good save to clear the ball off his feet, but also took out Angulo. The rebound could have been shot into the open net, but Alexis Vega failed to connect with it. Angulo looked to have been injured on the play and needed medical attention. He would not get better and had to be subbed out for Pavel Perez. Minutes later it was Diogo who fell down and looked to have injured himself. Diogo tried to play, but it was clear he was injured and had to be subbed out for Washington Corozo. That injury hurt Pumas, and Chivas took control including having a great opportunity that forced Talavera twice to make saves off shots. Vega then got the ball in the area and get off a right footed shot but it was also saved by Talavera. Pumas had a good chance when the ball was left in the area, but Favio Alvarez’s shot was blocked by a defender.
The second half started with both teams hoping to grab the lead and get by them having two players out of the match because of injuries. A great combination play was made between Vega and Fernando Beltran, which finished with a great left footed shot from Beltran past Talavera for the 2-1 lead. Chivas continued to dominate and Pumas needed to react. Pumas subbed out Santiago Trigos for Jose Rogerio. Pumas had a good chance when Rogerio lowered the ball in the area, but Dinenno failed to get off a shot before Jimenez was able to save the ball, Then a cross into the area from Corozo turned into a shot that was saved by Jimenez. Pumas then made their last moves by subbing out Jorge Ruvalcaba and Favio Alvarez for Marco Garcia and Omar Islas. Chivas countered by subbing out Roberto Alvarado for Jose Juan Macias. Macias then got past his defenders and got off a shot that Talavera saved. It looked like Beltran had inured himself and had to be subbed out for Sergio Flores. Chivas also subbed out Cristian Calderon for Miguel Angel Ponce. A cross into the area found a wide open Dinenno, but his header went wide. Then after a long cross counter into the area, Flores made a pass to a wide open Jose Juan Macias, who scored a right footed shot past Talavera for the 3-1 lead. Mere minutes later, it was again a long pass that found Alexis Vega, who got into the area and fired a shot past Talavera for the 4-1 lead. The loss was now clear against a Pumas side that concluded one of their darkest weeks in history. Chivas got the win, and will now face Atlas in the Clasico Tapatio.
Chivas is coming into the Liguilla with great aspirations and led by great performances from Alexis Vega. Under interim coach Ricardo Cadena, they have won all of their matches and might even be favored to get to the semifinals. It will not be easy though, as they face their second biggest rival in Atlas. Also because of their final standings, Atlas will close out at home and should they get an aggregate tie, it would be Atlas who would go through. Still Chivas is coming in with the better streak, and Atlas will be missing a key player as Jairo Torres has left to join Chicago Fire, his loan ending with the end of the regular season. Chivas is currently the most on point team and they just show it as they were the only team in the repechaje to win their match and not go through on penalties. On the other hand, it was a disastrous week for Pumas. The team couldn’t get past their terrible result in losing the CONCACAF Champions League final against the Sounders. Not only did the loss end the streak for Liga MX teams, but it’s a streak that started after Pumas lost the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup against Saprissa. Now the team who supposedly had a grand tournament for doing so much with so little ends up with a terrible ending for both, and fans will have to realize that getting applause for doing well only because their so little expectations isn’t that big of an achievement.