By DAN KARELL
Fans of Liga MX need look no further than Toluca for one of the most thrilling results of the Apertura season.
In a match on Sunday against last-place Atlante, Toluca bagged seven goals while three players were sent off in a 7-1 victory for the Choriceros. Both Raul Nava and his replacement off the bench Pablo Velasquez each scored a brace for Toluca in the win.
Toluca started off the match with a bang, scoring just four minutes in from defender Paulo da Silva, scoring with his left foot on the volley off a corner kick. Nava delighted the home crowd in the 17th minute with a terrifically taken bicycle kick goal to put Toluca up 2-0.
The match changed for good in the 32nd minute when Atlante’s Luis Venegas and Toluca’s Gerardo Rodriguez both were sent off for a scuffle. Without Venegas in defense, Toluca wasted no time dribbling through the heart of the field as they scored five more times to complete the 7-1 rout the rest of the way through.
Here’s a closer look at the best of Liga MX from Apertura Round 12:
PUEBLA COME OUT ON TOP OF TIJUANA
For the Apertura season at least, Puebla’s American players have the bragging rights over Northern Mexico side Club Tijuana.
Playing in Puebla’s Estadio Cuauhtémoc, the home side delivered a 2-0 victory over a Xolos side that has struggled mightily during the fall campaign. Gustavo Alustiza put Puebla up 1-0 with a calm finish into an empty net in the 23rd minute, after Xolos goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo made a crucial error, coming too far off his line and not winning the ball.
The normally sure-footed Xolos forward Fidel Martinez soon after missed a chip on goal on a breakaway, while in the 60th minute Saucedo redeemed himself with a huge save on a breakaway for Puebla. The hosts however ensured victory when Carlos Sanchez scored on a brilliant long-range blast that evaded Saucedo’s dive in the 84th minute.
TIGRES COME BACK AGAINST QUERETARO
While they’ve struggled to win games on a consistent basis, Tigres UANL proved again last Friday that they won’t stop playing until the final whistle.
After trailing by two goals from home side Queretaro in the 67th minute, Tigres struck back twice in a seven-minute span to tie the scoreline. Naturalized Mexican citizen Lucas Lobos cut the deficit in half for Tigres with a close-range strike in the 70th minute, and six minutes later, Mexican international Carlos Salcido perfectly placed a shot past Queretaro goalkeeper Edgar Hernandez to save Tigres a point on the road.
American Jose Torres played in the first half for Torres but was replaced at halftime by Argentine midfielder Guido Pizarro.
Here’s a look at the entire list of matches from Apertura Round 12 in Liga MX:
Queretaro 2, Tigres UANL 2
Santos Laguna 3, Morelia 1
Veracruz 0, Club America 1
Cruz Azul 1, Club Leon 0
Monterrey 0, Pumas UNAM 1
Chiapas 2, Pachuca 1
Toluca 7, Atlante 1
Puebla 2, Club Tijuana 0
Chivas 1, Atlas 1
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Raul Nava – Toluca: There can be no doubt about this one. No one in Mexico is hotter right now than Nava, who has scored six goals in his last three matches in all competitions. After scoring a brace against Caledonia AIA on September 19, he scored twice on September 22 in a 4-0 Toluca victory over Queretaro and took his two goals against Atlante very well, the first on a beautiful bicycle kick and the second from the penalty spot.
Orozco was a beast against TJ. cleared a Gomez shot off the line and played very well at CB.