By DAN KARELL
Oribe Peralta has come up big for Santos Laguna and the Mexican National Team on countless occasions, and on Saturday evening, he played the hero for Club America at Estadio Azteca.
The veteran forward scored in second half stoppage time to give America a thrilling 3-2 victory over Morelia, keeping Las Aguilas undefeated with five wins in five rounds of the Liga MX Apertura. The late game-winner was Peralta’s third in as many games for America.
Peralta actually looked to have put America on the board in the 36th minute but his spectacular bicycle-kick goal was ruled off for offside. However, America did take the lead two minutes later when Pablo Aguilar headed home from close range.
Into the second half, Duvier Riascos hit one back in the 57th minute with a header of his own but five minutes later, Rubens Sambuezza put the hosts up one goal again. Argentine-born Slovakian international David Depetris poked home from close range in the 76th minute to tie the score again for Morelia, but Peralta fired home from inside the box off a costly defensive error to give America all three points.
Here’s a closer look at the best of the rest from Liga MX Apertura Round 5:
PABON LEADS MONTERREY TO CRUSHING WIN VS. CRUZ AZUL
Cruz Azul had no answer on Saturday evening for Dorlan Pabon.
The Colombian forward scored a hat-trick as his Monterrey side lit up Cruz Azul in a 3-1 victory at the Estadio Tecnológico. Each of Pabon’s successive goals were prettier than the one that preceded it, with his final goal coming on an impressive volley in the box.
Pabon put Monterrey up 1-0 in the 38th minute with a lung-bursting dribble towards the area before scoring on a deflected shot that wrong-footed Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona. Joao Rojas leveled the scoreline for the visitors three minutes into the second half but Pabon would not be stopped, scoring two goals in six minutes to put the game away.
In the 67th minute, Pabon expertly used his body and left leg to shield the ball from a defender in the box, before rifling home into the far side netting. In the 73rd minute, a long cross from Efrain Velarde was blasted home on the volley by Pabon, giving Monterrey a 3-1 lead.
TOLUCA ROUT PACHUCA AT HOME
Toluca boosted themselves into the Liguilla positions with a 3-0 rout of Pachuca on Sunday afternoon.
Paulo da Silva opened up the scoring in the 8th minute with a close range header off a corner kick before star Toluca striker Pablo Velasquez took over the scoring role.
Velasquez, in the 60th minute, redirected a cross past the outstretched arms of Pachuca goalkeeper Oscar Perez, and Velasquez put the game away in the 67th minute when he tapped home a rebound off an Isaac Brizuela strike.
BENEDETTO BRACE LEADS XOLOS TO FIRST WIN OF APERTURA
Club Tijuana’s first win of the season was a long time coming, but Argentine forward Dario Benedetto proved to be the key difference maker against Chiapas.
Avenging last season’s 3-0 mauling at home, Xolos returned to the Estadio Corona and managed a 2-1 victory over Chiapas.
After nearly going up in the second minute, with a goal being ruled back for offside, Xolos only needed another three minutes to score a legal goal. Benedetto was played through on goal in the fifth minute of the match and produced a deft flick over Chiapas goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez to give Xolos the lead.
Jimenez robbed Benedetto on a one-on-one opportunity just a couple of minutes later but the Argentine wouldn’t be denied in the 55th minute. Off a terrible mistake from Chiapas defender Esteban Duenas, Benedetto slotted a loose ball in the box home to give Xolos a two-goal cushion. Vicente Vuoso headed one back for Chiapas in the 86th minute, as the ball just barely crossed the line, but Xolos held on for the 2-1 victory.
BEST OF THE REST
Atlas remained just two points behind America with a 1-0 victory against rivals Universidad de Guadalajara, while Chivas de Guadalajara lost late to Santos Laguna, thanks to an 88th minute Darwin Quintero goal.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dorlan Pabon – Monterrey: The Colombian forward wasn’t called up for the 2014 World Cup but he proved how much depth Colombia have at that position. On arguably his only three chances of the match, Pabon made them count, especially with his final goal, a stunning volley that left Jose de Jesus Corona motionless, as if his feet were encased in hardened cement.
Here’s a look at the full results from Apertura Round 5 in Liga MX:
Club Leon 2, Pumas UNAM 1
Queretaro 0, Veracruz 0
Club Tijuana 2, Chiapas 1
Puebla 1, Tigres UANL 1
Club America 3, Morelia 2
Monterrey 3, Cruz Azul 1
Atlas 1, Universidad de Guadalajara 0
Toluca 3, Pachuca 0
Chivas de Guadalajara 0, Santos Laguna 1