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Chivas bounce back to defeat Cruz Azul

El Rebaño got a 2-1 victory over La Máquina that all but punches their ticket to a Top 4 finish.

Chivas v Cruz Azul - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images

Chivas came back from a 1-0 deficit to get a 2-1 win at home over Cruz Azul. In a very even match that at times wasn’t of great level, the home team got a deserved win over a defensive Cruz Azul. The win now places Chivas a point away from qualifying as a Top 4 team, which means direct qualification to the Liguilla and they are primed to do so as they face last placed Mazatlan FC at home to close out the season.

Both teams came out with solid lineups, although Chivas were missing Jesus Orozco (suspension) and Roberto Alvarado (Injury). The match was very even with neither team creating any danger. A pass into the area found Pavel Perez, whose shot went just wide. A free kick into the area almost turned into a great opportunity, but it was cleared by the Chivas defense before a Cruz Azul player could get a close range chance. On a corner kick, the ball was headed back and Julio Cesar Dominguez connected with a great header that forced Chivas’ goalkeeper, Miguel Jimenez, to make a great save. A great pass by Juan Escobar then found a rushing Uriel Antuna, who got off a low shot past Jimenez and into the net for the goal that gave Cruz Azul the 1-0 lead. Antuna, who had a bad ending to his Chivas tenure, went off and kissed the Cruz Azul crest in a little bit of a teasing manner. Chivas tried to respond but were totally stifled and couldn’t create chances. Off a counter, Carlos Rodriguez got into the area, but his lobbed shot went wide. It was the last play as the halftime whistle blew.

The second half started with Chivas subbing out Pavel Perez for Ronaldo Cisneros. Ruben Gonzalez had a good chance but his shot in the area was blocked by a Cruz Azul defender. A good pass by Alan Mozo allowed Victor Guzman the time and space from outside the area to get off a great left-footed shot that went past Cruz Azul’s goalkeeper, Jesus Corona, and into the net to give them the tying goal that set things 1-1. A minute later, Cristian Calderon got off a right-footed shot that hit the post. Cruz Azul would answer when Jose Rivero got a good cross into the area that was just out of the reach of Ivan Morales. Off a corner kick, Dominguez rose to get a free header, but the ball went wide. Rotondi got off a left-footed shot that forced a save by Jimenez followed by a great clearance from Gilberto Sepulveda.

Moments later, a right-footed shot from Mozo was terribly handled by Corona, who then left the ball right in the path of Ronaldo Cisneros, who beat him to it and his shot cruised into the empty net for a goal to give Chivas the 2-1 lead. It was a huge mistake from Corona, who gifted Chivas the goal. although Cisneros did well in getting to it. A cross into the area was headed by Lotti, but Jimenez was able to make the save. Baca got off a left-footed shot from outside the area, but it went wide. After a fall in the area by Antuna, Antonio Briseño took the opportunity to start a scuffle and cheer the crowd in an action typically done to get himself attention. This led to various Cruz Azul players getting in his face. Minutes later, it appeared Ramiro Funes Mori stepped on Cisneros which earned him a yellow, although replays showed that it was his knee on Cisneros and not his foot. Off a counter, Vega looked to have a clear shot that was easily saved in the end by Corona. After another foul, Funes Mori got his second yellow (thus a red), although replays showed it was a bad call. It was the last play of the match and Chivas held on to bounce back and get the win.

It wasn’t the most entertaining match, but Chivas got a key victory to practically assure themselves a Top 4 finish. And they will as long as they take a point out of their next match, a home game against last-placed Mazatlan FC. It would be tragic for them not to do so. Chivas were the better side, although Cruz Azul were always close and looked slightly better in the first half. Still, a solid result from El Rebaño Sagrado and they’re now in the driver’s seat to go through while Cruz Azul will have a tough home match against Santos as they look to clinch a home match in the repechaje where they’re already qualified to.