Chivas had another terrible display by losing at home against Mazatlan by a 3-1 score. Chivas gave one of their worst performances of the season, but may wind up winning the match due to a possible controversy. During the match it came out that Joaquin Esquivel, who was on Mazatlan’s bench, had already five yellow cards in the 2023 Apertura and should have been suspended for the match. The doubt that is still not clear comes from the fact that Esquivel had three of the cards with Necaxa before transferring to Mazatlan, where he got the other two as well. Old rules that had yellow cards being erased after two matches without a card, although that law might have changed recently.
The first half started with Chivas having the return of Victor Guzman to the starting 11. Bryan Colula made a great run into the area, but he fell as he got off his left footed shot and it went wide. After a cross into the area, it looked like Guzman was tripped in the area but nothing was called. Off of a corner kick, Guzman got off a cross that turned into a shot that forced Mazaltan’s goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez to make a great save. Then against the run of play, a counter attack took advantage from sloppy defending and allowed Nicolas Benedetti to get to the ball. Benedetti hit a right footed shot that went past Chivas’ goalkeeper Miguel Jimenez and into the net to score, giving Mazatlan the surprising 1-0 lead. Chivas had controlled the possession, but they were very weak in creating danger with all of their possession. Still, it was a surprise that Mazatlan had taken the lead. Guzman tried to answer back with a shot from outside the area, but it went wide. A long ball found a wide open Edgar Barcenas, who looked to get into the area because of a possible injury to a Chivas player. Barcenas got into the area on a one-on-one and shot it past Jimenez to score, giving Mazatlan the 2-0 lead. Replays showed that Cristian Calderon had a clash with Barcenas before he made his run that caused him to fall, but the contact seemed weak and no foul was given. Chivas couldn’t do much in the final minutes, and went to the halftime break with a lot off booing from the few fans in the stand tired of the lousy performances from the team.
The second half had Chivas subbing out Jose Brigido and Ricardo Marin for Alexis Vega and Ronaldo Cisneros, while Mazatlan subbed out goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez for Ricardo Gutierrez. From outside of the area, Erick Gutierrez got off a left footed shot that went wide. A cross by Guzman just missed being headed by Jesus Orozco. Later, a cross into the area was headed wide by Cisneros. Chivas later subbed out Victor Guzman for Yael Padilla. A great cross from Calderon into the area found a wide open Cisneros, who once again headed wide, although from close range in a play where he should have done better. Mazatlan subbed out Josue Colman and Ake Loba for Eduard Bello and Luis Amarilla. After making a move, Erick Gutierrez looked to have injured himself as he collapsed and needed medical attention. He had to be subbed out for Ruben Gonzalez. As the rumors of the Esquivel situation made it through social media, Mazatlan subbed out Nicolas Benedetti and Bryan Colula for Omar Moreno and Jose Madueña. A cross into the area was headed by Vega, but Guiterrez was able to easily save it. After a combination play, Madueña got off a right footed shot in the area that Jimenez blocked, but left right in the path of Eduardo Bello, who shot it into the empty net to score the goal that gave Mazatlan a 3-0 lead and ended up killing the match. Chivas fans’ became irate, and started booing the team and cheering Mazatlan to bother the Chivas’ players. Off of a counter, Mazatlan lostthe ball to Roberto Alvarado, who grabbed it and got off a great left footed shot from outside the area that went past Gutierrez to get into the net and give Chivas the goal that placed it at 3-1. It was too little too late and Chivas ended up with a bad loss, pending the decision on the Esquivel situation.
Even if Chivas gets the three points out of the Esquivel controversy from this match against Mazatlan, the fact of the matter is that Chivas looks to be in crisis mode. While the team started to stop having results before, since the terrible result in the Superclasico where America flat out spanked the team to a 4-0 win, it’s noticeable that Chivas looks to be out of sync. Their game against Mazatlan showed the team being uninspired, without offensive ideas. Besides Roberto Alvarado and maybe Jose Brigido, no other Chivas player is giving good performances and the team looks to have no idea how to attack. Coach Veljko Paunovic looks to be on the hot seat, even after getting the team to the final in the 2023 Clausura. Chivas will have a tough match against Toluca on Sunday before returning to Guadalajara to face the Clasico Tapatio, their second biggest rivalry match against cross-town foes Atlas. It might look like the game will have a big impact, maybe on Paunovic’s job and Chivas’ season.