By DAN KARELL
After winning the Liga MX Apertura title some five months ago, Club Leon needed a win on the final round of the Clausura season to qualify for the playoffs.
Leon did just that last Friday, traveling to the Estadio Caliente in Tijuana and taking down Club Tijuana, 2-1, to earn the final place in the Liguilla on goal-difference. Leon, playing on two fronts this spring thanks to their participation in the Copa Libertadores, finished one place behind Xolos with 23 points from 17 matches.
Both Leon and Xolos had multiple chances to score early but it was Leon who got on the board first, scoring in the 16th minute off the left boot of Sebastian Maz. In the 66th minute, Luis Montes unloaded a blast from 30 yards out to give Leon a two-goal lead.
Tijuana nearly cut the deficit in half not long after when Dario Benedetto fed Richard Ruiz into the box but his shot dinked off the post to safety. Xolos finally did score in the 81st minute when a shot on goal was deflected in off Leon defender Juan Gonzalez. However, that was the last bit of action in the match and Xolos settled for the 2-1 defeat.
Here’s a closer look at the best of Liga MX from Clausura Round 17:
CRUZ AZUL REMAIN TOP WITH LATE GOALS AGAINST PUMAS
Cruz Azul clinched the top spot in the Liguilla with a thrilling victory over city rivals Pumas UNAM at home.
Roberto Ramirez gave Pumas a shock lead at La Maquina when he headed home from just outside the six-yard box in the 72nd minute. However, Cruz Azul battled right back and would take the lead with two goals in three minutes.
First, Rogelio Chavez had a mazy run into the box before firing a strike in the 80th minute that took a deflection and went into the net. Two minutes later, Mauro Formica found space left of center in the box and send an off-balance strike that dinked in off the post to give Cruz Azul the lead and eventual win.
MONTERREY BREAK CHIVAS HEARTS WITH ROAD VICTORY
Chivas Guadalajara’s disappointing 2013/2014 season came to a shocking end on Sunday evening.
With a chance to make the playoffs facing a struggling Monterrey side at home, Chivas slipped up, falling 1-0 and ending their season. Defender Efrain Juarez scored off a header in the 84th minute to clinch the win for Monterrey.
Chivas started big signings Omar Bravo and Aldo de Nigris up top but failed to break through the Monterrey defense.
Here’s a full look at all the results from Clausura Round 17 in the Liga MX:
Queretaro 3, Pachuca 4
Club Tijuana 1, Club Leon 2
Veracruz 2, Santos Laguna 2
Cruz Azul 2, Pumas UNAM 1
Tigres UANL 2, Atlas 1
Chiapas 5, Atlante 2
Toluca 1, Club America 1
Puebla 3, Morelia 1
Chivas Guadalajara 0, Monterrey 1