By DANIEL PRICE
Daniel Luduena scored a brace as Pumas UNAM beat Club America 3-1 in the Clasico Capitalino.
The Argentinian opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a well-taken goal. Javier Cortez drifted in from the right wing and laid a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Luduena, who used his instep to bend a shot past Munoz in the America net.
The lead lasted a little under 20 minutes, as Raul Jimenez took advantage of a defensive mix-up to level the scores from close-range in the 26th minute.
The next hour was a tense battle played at a frenetic pace, and included a red card for Maza Rodriguez – yet the game stayed 1-1 until 20 minutes from time.
Luduena was again the goal scorer, striking a delightfully accurate free-kick that sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and curled just inside the right-hand post. Unsurprisingly, it caused scenes of unbridled joy among the Pumas fans, players, and staff, who could now sense a fifth straight victory.
America pushed hard to find an equalizer, yet terrible defending allowed Pumas to grab a third and wrap up all three points with 9 minutes remaining. America failed to deal with a Pumas clearance, and Roberto Monroy gleefully took advantage to lob the ball over a stricken Munoz from a tight angle.
The win sees Pumas leapfrog America and move into third, while Las Aguilas have now lost three consecutive games and have slipped to fifth.
CLUB TIJUANA’S HOME UNBEATEN STREAK ENDED BY CHIAPAS
Club Tijuana had not lost in the Estadio Caliente for 10 months, yet the Xolos were out-played and out-classed by a rampant Chiapas side on Friday evening.
Chiapas’ 3-0 win was a justified result for a team who dominated from the first whistle. Carlos Ochoa gave the visitors the lead from the spot after 11 minutes, before doubling his tally and putting Chiapas 2-0 ahead in the 33rd minute. The game was effectively over when Luis Robles Ramírez made it 3-0 on the stroke of half time.
Xolos turned in a much-improved second-half performance, but couldn’t find a way back into game. Defeat sees them drop to 11th place, while Chiapas jump into the playoff places.
TIGRES CLAIM FIRST WIN
Tuca Ferreti was given the perfect sixtieth birthday present by his side, as Tigres beat Veracruz 1-0 to record their first win of the Clausura.
The match was dull for long periods, meaning a moment of magic from Jesus Duenas at the end of the first half was enough to seal the points. Dancing in from the right flank, the Tigres winger beat two men before rifling an unstoppable 25 yard effort past the helpless Edgar Hernández and into the top corner.
The win sees Tigres move into 15th place, and despite their miserable start to the campaign they are only four points behind eighth-place Chiapas and that all-important Liguilla spot. Veracruz drop into 18th place and may yet find themselves dragged into a relegation battle.
BEST OF THE REST
Cruz Azul are still undefeated after winning 3-1 in Queretaro, Chivas de Guadalajara lost 1-0 at Toluca, and Club Leon carried their excellent Copa Libertadores form into the domestic calendar by beating Santos Laguna 4-2.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Daniel Luduena – Pumas UNAM: Yet again a Pumas player is the player of the week, which is testament to the remarkable turnaround in their fortunes. Luduena scored two goals in one of the season’s biggest games.
Here’s a look at the full results from Clausura Round 8 in Liga MX:
Queretaro 1, Cruz Azul 3
Club Tijuana 0, Chiapas 3
Club America 1, Pumas UNAM 3
Pachuca 3, Morelia 0
Tigres UANL 1, Veracruz 0
Club Leon 4, Santos Laguna 2
Atlas 0, Monterrey 1
Toluca 1, Chivas de Guadalajara 0
Atlante 0, Puebla 0