By DANIEL PRICE
Club Tijuana followed up their impressive 4-2 CONCACAF Champions league win over LA Galaxy with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Puebla. Three American players were on show, Edgar Castillo for the home side and DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco for the visitors.
Dario Benedetto got the scoring started early for Xolos, heading home Fidel Martinez’s corner in only the second minute. Puebla then matched their opponents for an hour, but in the 66th minute Martinez turned from provider to scorer to make it 2-0 and put Tijuana within touching distance of the three points.
Puebla gave themselves a chance when Maicon Santos pulled one back with six minutes to play, but Xolos had the last laugh as Fernando Arce made it 3-1 five minutes into stoppage time.
The defeat marks Puebla’s third consecutive loss and leaves them in seventeenth place. The side need to find a serious upturn in performance if they are to avoid a relegation battle next season. Tijuana’s remarkable home form continues, and they are now one of seven sides within two points of each other in the top half of the table.
Here’s a closer look at the best of Liga MX from Clausura Round 12:
GUADALAJARA DERBY ENDS IN DRAW
Atlas and Chivas de Guadalajara played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday evening, as the fierce off-field rivalry failed to translate into on-pitch drama.
Mexican international Aldo de Nigris opened the scoring with a 20 yard wonder-goal after just nine minutes, and looked the most dangerous side throughout the first half. The home team briefly showed some of the sparkle that has been missing in recent times.
Atlas got their equalizer in the 73rd minute, the goal against the run of play. Jose Ortigoza was the scorer, getting on the end of Flavio Santos’ cross. Both sides missed further chances to take the lead, but ultimately neither side was able to claim the bragging-rights.
Chivas are tied with Xolos on seventeen points and lie eighth, while Atlas move on to fourteen points and go up into twelfth place.
PUMAS CAGED AS MONTERREY END LOSING STREAK
Monterrey left the capital city with three important points after a 2-1 win over Pumas UNAM. Monterrey had gone into the game in last place and on the back of three straight defeats, and will now hope the win serves as a catalyst for the remainder of the season.
Monterrey opened the scoring just before halftime, as Omar Arellano brilliantly spun his man and smashed the ball past Palacios. Pumas were level within three minutes of the restart as Dario Veron headed in Daniel Luduena’s corner, and it was they who looked more likely to score again. Monterrey’s second, an own goal, came from nowhere. A long kick up field from Orozco confused everyone and Veron turned from hero to villain, heading the ball over his onrushing goalkeeper.
Monterrey’s win leaves them sixteenth with twelve points, while Pumas stay fourth with eighteen. Next up for Monterrey is Atlas at home, with Pumas travelling to Santos Laguna.
BEST OF THE REST
Queretaro ended a five game losing streak to beat Tigres UANL 2-0, Club America played out a dull 0-0 against Veracruz, and the biggest game of the round between Club Leon and Cruz Azul also ended 0-0.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Edgar Hernandez – Queretaro: Much maligned in recent weeks, and even losing his place last weekend, the Queretaro goalkeeper was back to his best against Tigres. His string of excellent saves against Tigres’ twenty two shots ensured his side left Monterrey with a confidence boosting three points.
Here’s a look at the full results from Clausura Round 12 in Liga MX:
Morelia 2, Santos Laguna 2
Club Tijuana 3, Puebla 1
Club America 0, Veracruz 0
Tigres UANL 0, Queretaro 2
Pachuca 2, Chiapas 0
Club Leon 0, Cruz Azul 0
Atlas 1, Chivas de Guadalajara 1
Pumas UNAM 1, Monterrey 2
Atlante 2, Toluca 1