MEXICO: Tigres topple Cruz Azul for top spot

February, 14, 2011
2/14/11
11:41
PM PT

Jonathan Bornstein has brought UANL Tigres some needed luck. Give Danilinho and Hector Mancilla some credit, too.


The club from suburban Monterrey, known more for its disappointments than its triumphs, are atop the Primera Division's Clausura standings after Danilinho set up one goal and scored another in a 2-0 victory Saturday over visiting Cruz Azul.

Up next: Clasico Regiomontano rival Monterrey, which won the Apertura crown in December and has prevailed in three of its last four games.

Bornstein, who joined Tigres after five seasons with Chivas USA, made his fourth start (going 45 minutes) for UANL (4-1-1), which is 4-0-0 with the UCLA/Los Alamitos High School product in the lineup and winless when he's left on the bench.

Danilinho, a Brazilian midfielder who arrived from Jaguares, and Mancilla, a Chilean forward acquired from Toluca, have been huge additions, and their partnership proved too much for Cruz Azul (3-2-1), which fell from third to fifth overall with the loss.

Mancilla scored the first goal, a one-touch finish in the 69th minute after Danilinho burst past two defenders to the right byline and sent in a cross. The Brazilian added the second deep into stoppage, setting up his shot with a superb first touch.

Monterrey (3-3-0, in ninth overall) also won, routing Jaguares, 4-1, as Chilean World Cup star Humberto Suazo had a hat trick -- giving him 19 goals for the fall/spring campaign -- and Dario Carreņo set up two goals, one my Aldo de Nigris.

FALL FROM FIRST: Pumas UNAM's time atop the overall standings was short. The Mexico City club dropped to third overall after an error by goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios and missed penalty kick by former Chivas USA forward Francisco Palencia allowed Guadalajara to escape with a 1-1 draw.

Palencia, the former Mexican national-teamer, was stopped twice by Chivas goalkeeper Luis Michel, who dived to his right to save the 13th-minute spot kick, then pawed away the rebound. The netminder, Mexico's starter at the World Cup last summer in South Africa, was exceptional, making five big-time saves to keep Guadalajara (1-1-4) in the game.

Palacios' inability to deal with a simple Xavier Baez shot in the 78th minute gave Chivas the lead, but Javier Cortes' sizzling goal two minutes later -- a side-volley from Carlos Orrantia's cross -- provided Pumas (3-0-3) a share of the points.

"It was a beauty of a goal, but we could not get a win," Cortes told reporters afterward. "We lacked some intensity in the first half, and they took advantage, but we never gave up and got a good result. But this team can play better. We know that."

NO LONGER LAST: Troubled Necaxa got its first goal -- and first victory -- of the Clausura, stunning visiting America, 1-0, to climb out of the Clausura cellar. The Rayos (1-4-1), who had suffered 1-0 defeats in their first four games and played a scoreless draw with Morelia in Week 5, received a superb goal from Sergio Blanco and two massive saves by goalkeeper Oscar Perez to prevail.

Blanco tallied in the 35th minute, beating one defender by chipping the ball into the air, beating another with a left-footed volley, then volleying home with his right foot. America (3-3-1) suffered its first loss since Carlos Reinoso took charge three weeks ago; Necaxa won for the first time under Sergio Bueno, who was brought on a little more than two weeks ago.

GROUP PLAY: Copa Libertadores' group stage is in full swing this week, with all three Mexican entrants opening at home. America, with hopes of making a title run, have the toughest assignment, needing to finish first or second in Group 3 against Argentinos Juniors (Argentina), Fluminense (Brazil) and Nacional (Uruguay).

The Aguilas open Tuesday against Nacional, and San Luis begins Group 1 play against Paraguay's Libertad. Jaguares is home Wednesday in Group 6 against Bolivia's Jorge Wilstermann.

ANOTHER CHANGE: Puebla (1-4-1) fired coach Jose Luis Trejo and replaced him Monday with Uruguayan Hector Hugo Eugui after a 1-0 loss to Pachuca -- on Mexican national-teamer Paul Aguilar's 69th-minute bullet -- left Los Camoteros with three straight shutout losses and four in five games.

Trejo is the third coach to exit this season, following Manuel Lapuente following a 0-2-1 start at America (Reinoso stepped in, his third stint as Aguilas head coach) and Daniel Brailovsky after four losses at Necaxa (Bueno is 1-0-1).

Eugui, 63, has spent most of his career in Mexico, with stints in charge at Monterrey, as an interim coach at Toluca, with several lower-division clubs, most recently with Indios de Ciudad Juarez, when they played in the top tier.

ETC.: Toluca, one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the top tier, is second overall after a 5-0 rout of Gallos Blancos, with two superb goals from outside the box: Osvaldo Gonzalez's dipping 28-yarder in the 50th minute and Nestor Calderon's left-footed hammer from 25 yards in the 89th. Gallos Blancos responded by dropping Jairo Castillo, Arnhold Rivas and Jorge Cardenas from its roster. … Atlas, which started 3-0-0 against lesser competition, hasn't won in its past three games (against much better competition: America, Toluca, Santos Laguna), scoring just once. Fernando Arce and Juan Pablo Rodriguez, on a penalty kick, tallied in Santos' 2-1 victory. ... Morelia, crushed by five goals by Atlas in its Clausura opener, is 2-0-3 since (with 11 goals). Elias Hernandez assisted three strikes -- with crosses that Mauricio Martin Romero twice headed home -- in a 4-1 romp over Estudiantes Tecos. ... Francisco "Kikin" Fonseca, still in a dispute over his transfer from UANL Tigres, finally debuted for Atlante in a 0-0 draw wih San Luis. ... Pachuca's Faustino Arizala departed in the 21st minute of the Tuzos' win over Puebla with a sprained ankle that will sideline him several weeks.

AMERICANS ABROAD: Calexico's Isaac Acuņa, who last month joined Gallos Blancos on loan from America, made just his second Primera Division appearance -- and first in nearly a year -- as a 56th-minute substitute in Queretaro's debacle against Toluca. Acuņa, 21, played five minutes in America's win over Jaguares on April 10, 2010. ... Herculez Gomez and Jose Francisco Torres were again in the starting lineup for Pachuca (both went the full 90) and Sonny Guadarrama came on in the second half for Atlante. ... San Diego's Joe Corona made his fifth start for Club Tijuana in Liga de Ascenso.

LIGA DE ASCENSO: Ariel Gonzalez struck again -- his seventh goal of the Clausura, with at least one in all six games -- as Irapuato (3-1-2) handed first-place Correcaminos (4-1-1) its first defeat to crawl up to second in Mexico's second-tier league, two points behind the Roadrunners. Idle Leon (3-0-2), the only unbeaten team left in the Liga, is third, and Cruz Azul Hidalgo (3-1-2) also has 11 points. …

Is Club Tijuana going through a championship hangover? The Xolos won the Apertura, which means they're playing in May for promotion to the Primera Division -- no matter how they fare in the Clausura. And they're not faring well. Sunday's 2-2 draw with visiting Merida at Estadio Caliente left them 0-1-4, in 13th place, and they've been alarmingly deficient defensively, giving up seven goals in their past three games (and nine in five games) after surrendering just seven in 21 Clausura matches. …

Has Edgar Garcia replaced Eder Pacheco at Alacranes de Durango? He's scored in three of the past four games and had the first in Saturday's 2-1 win over Indios de Ciudad Juarez. Eder Pacheco, who scored 16 Apertura goals, took off for top-tier Puebla and quickly returned to the Liga, scored again for Veracruz (2-1-1), which has climbed from 15th to seventh with successive wins. … Indios de Ciudad Juarez have lost six of their last eight games and three of their last four at home.
  • PRIMERA DIVISION

Last week's games (home teams listed first)
Friday

Necaxa 1 (S. Blanco 35), America 0
Saturday
Jaguares 1 (C. Valdez 36), Monterrey 4 (Suazo 9, pen. 31, 78, de Nigris 82)
Gallos Blancos 0, Toluca 5 (Zinha 28, O. Gonzalez 50, og E. Cortes 52, Ayovi 64, N. Calderon 89)
UANL Tigres 2 (H. Mancilla 69, Danilinho 93+), Cruz Azul 0
Pachuca 1 (P. Aguilar 69), Puebla 0
Atlas 1 (Conde 57), Santos Laguna 2 (F. Arce 36, J.P. Rodriguez pen. 38)
Atlante 0, San Luis 0
Sunday
Pumas UNAM 1 (J. Cortes 80), Guadalajara 1 (X. Baez 78)
Morelia 4 (Sabah 6, M. Romero 15, 61, L. Rey 84), Estudiantes Tecos 1 (Cejas 57)

Standings
Group 1:
UANL Tigres 13 points, Santos Laguna 10, Monterrey 9, Guadalajara 7, Estudiantes Tecos 6, Necaxa 4
Group 2: Toluca 12, San Luis 12, Atlas 10, America 10, Pachuca 8, Atlante 7
Group 3: Pumas UNAM 12, Cruz Azul 10, Morelia 9, Puebla 4, Jaguares de Chiapas 4, Gallos Blancos de Queretaro 4
Overall (top 8): 1. UANL Tigres 13 points (+5 goal difference), 2. Toluca 12 (+8), 3. Pumas UNAM 12 (+4), 4. San Luis 12 (+3), 5. Cruz Azul 10 (+4), 6. Atlas 10 (+4), 7. America 10 (+3), 8. Santos Laguna 10 (-1). Playoffs: If season ended now, the top eight would qualify
Relegation percentage: 1. Necaxa (23 games/20 points) 0.8696; 2. Gallos Blancos (57/62) 1.0877; 3. Atlante and Jaguares (91/106) 1.1648, 5. Atlas (91/108) 1.1868

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Friday
Atlante at Estudiantes Tecos, 6:10 p.m.
Pumas UNAM at San Luis, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday
UANL Tigres at Monterrey, 3 p.m.
Atlas at Cruz Azul, 3 p.m.
Pachuca at Guadalajara, 5 p.m.
Gallos Blancos at Santos Laguna, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Jaguares at Puebla, 10 a.m.
Necaxa at Toluca, 10 a.m.
Morelia at America, 2 p.m.
Schedule subject to change

Leading scorers
1. Wilmer Aguirre (San Luis) 5
Juan Carlos Cacho (Pumas UNAM) 5
Humberto Suazo (Monterrey) 5
Matias Vuoso (America) 5
5. Mauro Cejas (Estudiantes Tecos) 4
Hector Mancilla (UANL Tigres) 4
7. Carlos Bueno (Gallos Blancos) 3
Nestor Calderon (Toluca) 3
Emanuel Villa (Cruz Azul) 3

OTHER GAMES
Last week's games (home teams listed first)
Tuesday
International friendly:
Mexico 2 (J. Hernandez 48, E. Pacheco 55), Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
Wednesday
Friendly:
Atlante 0, New York Red Bulls (MLS) 0

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Tuesday
Copa Libertadores:
Libertad (Paraguay) at San Luis, 4:45 p.m.
Friendly: New York Red Bulls (MLS) at Guadalajara, 6 p.m.
Copa Libertadores: Nacional (Uruguay) at America, 7 p.m.
Wednesday
Copa Libertadores:
Jorge Wilstermann (Bolivia) at Jaguares, 6:15 p.m.
  • LIGA DE ASCENSO

Last week's games (home teams listed first)
Friday
Leones Negros 2 (A. Estrada 62, 63), Dorados de Sinaloa 2 (M. Padilla 28, J. Arias 55)
Saturday
La Piedad 1 (J. Mendoza 78), Albinegros 2 (M. Hernandez 33, E. Gonzalez 45)
Pumas Morelos 1 (S. Medina 87), Cruz Azul Hidalgo 2 (A. Rodriguez 24, O. Mendoza 59)
Irapuato 2 (J. Lopez 55, A. Gonzalez 89), Correcaminos 0
Veracruz 3 (Macaluso 26, Eder Pacheco 61, M. Romero 78), Altamira 1 (C. Rojas 30)
Indios de Ciudad Juarez 1 (Borboa 67), Alacranes de Durango 2 (E. Garcia 22, I. Rey 87)
Sunday
Atlante Neza 1 (D. Mejia 29), Lobos BUAP 0
Club Tijuana 2 (A. Pulido 15, C. Rubio 74), Merida FC 2 (S. Gonzalez 46, A. Reyes 67)
Idle: Leon

Standings: 1. UAT Correcaminos 13 points; 2. Irapuato 11; 3. Leon 11; 4. Cruz Azul Hidalgo 11; 5. Atlante Neza 9; 6. Dorados de Sinaloa 9; 7. Albinegros de Orizaba 8; 8. Veracruz 7; 9. Altamira 7; 10. Pumas Morelos 6; 11. Indios de Ciudad Juarez 6; 12. Alacranes de Durango 6; 13. Club Tijuana 5; 14. Merida 4; 15. U de G Leones Negros 4; 16. La Piedad 4; 17. Lobos BUAP 3

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Wednesday
La Piedad at Lobos BUAP, 10 a.m.
Irapuato at Cruz Azul Hidalgo, 2 p.m.
Veracruz at Pumas Morelos, 2 p.m.
Indios at Albinegros, 4 p.m.
Club Tijuana at Alacranes, 5 p.m.
Leones Negros at Merida, 5 p.m.
Altamira at Leon, 6 p.m.
Atlante Neza at Correcaminos, 6:30 p.m.
Idle: Dorados
Saturday
Pumas Morelos at Irapuato, 5 p.m.
Leon at Veracruz, 5 p.m.
Lobos BUAP at Indios, 5 p.m.
Dorados at Altamira, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Alacranes at Leones Negros, 10 a.m.
Cruz Azul Hidalgo at Atlante Neza, 10 a.m.
Albinegros at Club Tijuana, 1 p.m.
Correcaminos at La Piedad, 2 p.m.
Idle: Merida
Schedule subject to change

Leading scorers
1. Ariel Gonzalez (Irapuato) 7
2. Jair Garcia (Cruz Azul Hidalgo) 5
Roberto Saucedo (Correcaminos) 5
4. Blas Perez (Leon) 4
Juan Manuel Sara (Lobos BUAP) 4
6. Raul Enriquez (Club Tijuana) 3
Edgar Garcia (Alacranes) 3
Jose Luis Lopez (Irapuato) 3
Luis Nieves (Leon) 3
Mario Padilla (Dorados) 3

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