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Chivas crush Mazatlán en route to direct Liguilla spot

El Rebaño Sagrado clinched their pass to the Liguilla by defeating a limited Mazatlan squad by a 4-1 score.

Chivas v Mazatlan FC - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Chivas qualified to the Liguilla with a statement win, crushing Mazatlan by a 4-1 score at home to guarantee a third place finish in the standings. Chivas totally dominated a poor Mazatlan team that were overwhelmed from the start, even after they picked it up at times. Chivas will now skip the Repechaje and wait for the Liguilla where they will have home field advantage.

The first half started with Chivas having the return of Roberto Alvarado after being injured. A shot from outside the area was deflected and almost went in for the goal. 10 minutes into the match, a great cross into the area was headed by Victor Guzman past Mazatlan’s goalkeeper Ricardo Gutierrez for the opening goal, giving Chivas the 1-0 lead. Chivas continued to dominate, as Mazatlan looked to have an uphill battle. After getting a pass in the area, Alexis Vega made a good move in the area and got off a right footed shot that, in a terrible blooper, bounced off of Gutierrez’ hands and into the net for a goal that gave Chivas the 2-0 lead. The shot went straight to Gutierrez, who should have done better and was lucky the goal wasn’t given as an own goal. To the surprise of everybody, Mazatlan answered right back. After a ball sent to the area, it fell to Andres Montaño, who got off a great left footed shot from outside the area that went past Chivas’ goalkeeper Miguel Jimenez for the goal that cut the lead to 2-1. Mazatlan got a boost from the goal, and started to create dangerous chances. Off of a corner kick, Mazatlan got a header from close range that luckily for Chivas went straight to Jimenez. A cross into the area then went just over the head of Carlos Cisneros, who would have had a tap in header had he gotten to it. A cross into the area reached Guzman, but he looked like he was brought down and the replays showed that it should have been a penalty but the referee failed to give one. It was the last play as the halftime whistle blew immediately after it.

The second half started with Mazatlan subbing out Eduard Bello, Andres Motaño, and Enrique Cedillo for Josue Colman, Jefferson Intriago, and Facundo Almada. In a incredible miss, Nicolas Benedetti made a good run and then found Miguel Sansores, who got past Jimenez (who even went on to crash into Ruben Gonzalez) but his shot into the net was blocked by a Chivas defender, missing the best opportunity to get the tying goal. Fernando Beltran then got into the area and got a low shot past Gutierrez to give Chivas the 3-1 lead. Later, a longball into the area found Beltran, who got into the area but his low shot was blocked by Gutierrez. After a harsh foul, there was a scuffle between Gilberto Sepulveda and Miguel Sansores. Mazatlan subbed out Edgar Barcenas for Omar Moreno. Chivas subbed out Roberto Alvarado, Carlos Cisneros, and Ruben Gonzalez for Ronaldo Cisneros, Isaac Brizuela, and Eduardo Torres. After a great run by Cristian Calderon, he made a pass to a wide open Isaac Brizuela, whose left footed shot went past Gutierrez and into the net for the goal that gave Chivas the 4-1 lead. Mazatlan subbed out Raul Sandoval for Fernando Illescas. Chivas subbed out Victor Guzman and Jesus Orozco for Pavel Perez and Antonio Briseño. A shot from Perez was saved by Gutierrez. Chivas missed a great chance after Brizuela got past Gutierrez but his shot was saved by defender before Cisneros could get to the rebound for a tap in. In injury time, Chivas had a free kick and they made a fake move that allowed Pavel Perez to get off a right footed shot that went past Gutierrez but the referee ruled that Briseño had been offside, and the goal was disallowed.

Chivas closed out a great regular season by clinching a ticket straight to the Liguilla. They totally dominated a terrible Mazatlan team, and will be primed to make a run as they wait for their opposition to come through the repechaje. Chivas is clicking on offense and on defense, but will not be favored against the teams with a deeper squad, especially Monterrey and America. Still after many seasons going through the repechaje, guaranteeing a third place finish in the first season of Coach Veljko Paunovic is a great accomplishment for one of the two biggest clubs in Mexico.