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Atlas defeats Queretaro in their first match since last season’s tragic brawl

Atlas bounced back to get a 3-1 win over struggling Queretaro in a high risk game.

Atlas v Queretaro - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Atlas ended a three game losing streak with a 3-1 win at home against Queretaro in a tense match. In the first match between the opponents since their last match in Queretaro that finished in an tragic brawl in the stands between supporter groups that rocked Mexican football. Queretaro blew a great opportunity to break their streak of failing to get an away win after getting the lead and a man advantage, both of which they wasted. Atlas will now have their biggest regular season match when they face their biggest rival Chivas, while Queretaro returns home to face Atletico San Luis.

The first half started with both teams going out with their best eleven, though they faced off under bad field conditions. Atlas had the first chance when a header forced Queretaro goalkeeper Jose Antonio Rodriguez to make a great save. Atlas then had another chance when Edison Flores got the ball in the area, but his left footed shot was saved by Rodriguez. After a clash in the area, Enzo Martinez got badly injured and had to be subbed out in the 16th minute for Jordan Silva. Queretaro wasted a good chance when a pass in the area found Angel Sepulveda, but his shot went wide. After a long ball got to Sepulveda, he got brought down by Hugo Nervo in a play that could’ve been a red card as he was the last player who made a tackling foul. Nervo got a yellow card but after going to the VAR, he correctly was shown a red card and Atlas was down a player. A minute later, a cross into the area was headed by Angel Sepulveda and the ball went past Atlas goalkeeper Camilo Vargas for the 1-0 lead for Queretaro. After Atlas had been the better team, in a flash they were in real trouble. Queretaro had another chance when a ball to Sepulveda bounced off Vargas into the path of Ariel Nahuelpan, whose shot went well into the stands. Atlas subbed out Edison Flores for Anibal Chala in a move where they hoped to keep offense but move a little in defense while down a player. A shot from Chala was blocked by a slide from Kevin Balanta in a play where Atlas’ players asked for a hand ball. Replays however showed it was the correct call to not give a penalty. The halftime whistle blew, and with the protest of fans and players against the ref from the home side, Queretaro took their surprising lead into the locker room.

The second half started with Atlas subbing out Julio Furch for Jesus Ocejo. David Barbona got off a shot that forced Vargas to make a good save. There was another controversy when Quiñones fell in the area, but no penalty was given. After a second harsh foul, Omar Mendoza got his second yellow card and thus a red card, making it so that both teams were down a player. Almost immediately, the ball got into the area and Ocejo got pushed in the area, giving Atlas a penalty kick. Luis Reyes stepped up to take the shot from the spot, and his left footed shot went past Rodriguez for the 1-1 equalizer. Queretaro subbed out Jorge Hernandez for Mario Osuna. From outside the area, Ozziel Herrera took the time to get out a great right footed shot that went past Rodriguez for the 2-1 lead as Atlas took the lead. A great chance from Atlas was then wasted when Chala’s pass went too wide for Ocejo. Queretaro subbed out David Barbona for Jose Angulo. Atlas countered by subbing out Edgar Zaldivar and Jeremy Marquez for Emanuel Aguilera and Edyairth Ortega. After a great play in the area from Ocejo, he made a great pass to Julian Quiñones, who from close range got a right footed shot past Rodriguez for the 3-1. A cross into the area from Chala almost turned to an own goal when Silva barely deflected it wide. A great counter from Atlas was wasted when the play ended with Ocejo getting off a terrible shot. A free kick from Kevin Escamilla was saved by Vargas in what turned out to be the last play of the match, and Atlas returned to their winning ways.

It was a very tense match in Mexican football as Atlas and Queretaro’s last matchup was (and still is) a historic black mark in Mexico’s history. This meant that Queretaro’s bus to the match had extreme security to the point they even got a helicopter escort. With a lot of eyes on the match, Queretaro got the lead and the benefit of having Atlas down to ten players before Omar Mendoza wasted his team’s effort with a red card. Queretaro crumbled after the foul when the teams were back at even strength in their number of players, giving up a penalty kick and a goal that sealed their fate. Atlas did a good job to bounce back and get their second win of the season after a bad streak where they lost their last three matches. They will now have a boost before they face their biggest rival Chivas, who are struggling even worse than Atlas was. Queretaro will return home to face an Atletico San Luis team that hasn’t lived up to expectations, but should still be the favorite against last placed Queretaro.