By DANIEL PRICE
Cruz Azul maintained their position at the top of the Liga MX with a comprehensive 2-0 win in the Estadio Omnilife against Chivas de Guadalajara.
A valiant performance by Chivas’ young side in an exciting first half had the home support dreaming of an unlikely three points, but two goals in quick succession after half-time dashed their hopes and handed Cruz Azul their fourth win in five games.
Former Rojiblanco Marco Fabian was heavily involved in the 49th minute opener, playing in Mariano Pavone who crossed for Mauro Formica to head Cruz Azul into the lead. It quickly got worse for the home side, as Los Cementeros doubled their lead just three minutes later – the goal coming directly from a Rogelio Chavez that was intended as a cross yet evaded everyone and ended up nestled in the corner of the goal.
Chivas tried hard to find a way back and protect their unbeaten start to the season, but Cruz Azul held on to take a well-earned victory back to Mexico City. The defeat leaves Jose Luis Real’s men outside the playoffs in 12th, with six points from their opening five games.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Liga MX from Clausura Round 5:
CLASICO REGIOMONTANO FAILS TO IGNITE
Monterrey and Tigres UANL played out a goalless draw in the Clasico Regiomontano in Nuevo Leon.
The game is likely to be the final Clasico Regiomontano in Monterrey’s current home, the Estadio Tecnologico, yet the game failed to live up to its pre-match billing. Monterrey had the better of a poor first half, but it was Tigres who had the majority of the chances in the second period, producing their best football of the season so far and forcing Jonathan Orozco into a string of smart saves.
Alan Pulido, fresh out of a dream debut for the national team in mid-week, came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the post from a tight angle in the 76th minute.
Ultimately, it is a result that satisfies neither of the sides nor their fans. Monterrey’s issues with inconsistency remain, while Tigres are still winless and find themselves two points adrift of 17th-placed Atlas at the bottom of the table.
CLUB AMERICA WIN TO MAINTAIN WINNING STREAK
Club America won their third consecutive game of the Clausura, but the ten men were made to work hard for their 1-0 victory by a resilient Atlante.
Wing-back Miguel Layun scored the only goal of the game in the 8th minute, after receiving the ball from Jesus Molina and unleashing an unstoppable rising shot into the top left corner of the goal.
A weekend of Liga MX action wouldn’t be complete without a refereeing controversy, and this week’s came to pass with the 31st minute dismissal of Rubens Sambueza for America. The referee changed a yellow card for diving into a red card for foul and abusive language, although the player has since denied any comments were directed at the referee and were merely born out of frustration.
Nonetheless America will be very happy with the win, and are ominously now only one point behind Cruz Azul at the top of the table without yet playing their best football.
BEST OF THE REST
Club Leon’s poor season continues, as a 0-0 draw away to Morelia leaves them 14th in the table. Pumas UNAM appear to have turned a corner, as they won 3-0 at home against Club Tijuana to record successive wins and leave themselves in the playoff places, and Atlas picked up a valuable three points in their battle against relegation, winning 1-0 in Pachuca’s Estadio Hidalgo.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Javier Orozco – Santos Laguna: He only played 41 minutes before being forced off with an injury, but still scored two goals and helped deliver Santos’ first win of their campaign. With Oribe Peralta still struggling to find his form at the club level, fans will be hoping Orozco’s injury is not too serious and that he’ll be fit to face Tigres in Monterrey next weekend.
Here’s a look at the full results from Clausura Round 5 in Liga MX:
Morelia 0, Club Leon 0
Club America 1, Atlante 0
Santos Laguna 2, Toluca 0
Veracruz 0, Puebla 1
Chivas de Guadalajara 0, Cruz Azul 2
Monterrey 0, Tigres UANL 0
Pachuca 0, Atlas 1
Chiapas 1, Queretaro 0
Pumas UNAM 3, Club Tijuana 0