MEXICO: Upsets tighten Clausura race
The top three sides in the overall table plus the top two teams in Group B were beaten over the weekend, a flurry upsets tightening the standings and rewarding Guadalajara for its first back-to-back victories since the full season began last summer.
Five of the top eight clubs were beaten:
- First-place Pumas UNAM (7-1-4) was stunned by three goals in the first 33 minutes, two by Antonio Salazar, in a 3-1 loss at last-place Jaguares.
- No. 2 Morelia (6-3-3) lost for the second time in three games -- a 3-1 decision at home against Group 2 cellar-dweller Pachuca -- to dip to third, still four points off the lead.
- No. 3 Cruz Azul (6-3-3) gave up a first-minute goal (to Carlos Quintero) and never recovered, falling, 3-0, at Santos Laguna, which had lost its previous five.
- No. 6 Atlante (5-6-1), the Group 2 leader, gave up both goals in a 2-0 loss to UANL Tigres after Alex Diego's red card and dropped to eighth overall and three points behind America in the group standings.
- No. 7 San Luis (3-3-7) let an early two-goal lead disappear in a 3-2 loss to Gallos Blancos, which is seeking to avoid relegation to the second-tier Liga de Ascenso. The Gladiadores fell out of the playoff zone, to 11th place.
Tigres (6-1-5), again without Los Alamitos' Jonathan Bornstein, vaulted to second overall, two points behind Pumas, and America strengthened its hold on a postseason spot with a wild 5-4 triumph over Puebla. Angel Reyna netted a hat trick -- he leads the Primera Division with nine Clausura goals -- and Vicente Sanchez added a pair for the Aguilas, who had a 4-0 lead by the 33rd minute.Marco Fabian de la Mora's 70th-minute free kick lifted Guadalajara (4-2-6) to a 2-1 triumph at Necaxa, pushing Chivas to seventh, just their second time in the top eight since summer.
MORE BIG GAMES: How often is the Super Clasico not the game of the week? There's plenty at stake when America visits Guadalajara on Saturday -- both teams are fighting for playoff berths -- but there's a bigger game Sunday: No. 1 Pumas vs. No. 2 Tigres. It's the second 1-vs.-2 showdown for Pumas, which beat Morelia, 1-0, in that situation March 13.
COPA CALL: Monterrey takes a 2-1 lead over Cruz Azul into Wednesday's second leg, in Mexico City, in a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal. The Rayados have been the best team in the competition, going 8-0-1 in group play and the knockout stage -- 3-0-0 against fellow Mexicans, twice beating Toluca, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
The victor will take on Real Salt Lake, which Tuesday became the first Major League Soccer club to reach the regional club championship series since the change to a “league” format in 2008, finishing off a 3-2 aggregate victory over Costa Rica's Saprissa.
America and Jaguares have important Copa Libertadores group games Wednesday. The Aguilas (2-2-0), second in Group 3, are home against first-place Argentinos Juniors (2-1-1), and a victory would all but ensure the expected berth in the round of 16. Jaguares (2-2-0), also home, likely need to upset defending champion Internacional (3-0-1) in Group 6 to stay alive. San Luis (1-2-2) plays its Group 1 finale April 19.
AMERICANS ABROAD: Sacramento-born Miguel Angel Ponce returned after missing 10 weeks with a torn leg muscle, playing the final 19 minutes in Guadalajara's victory. … Jose Francisco Torres was in the lineup for Pachuca's big win, but Herculez Gomez did not feature. … San Diego's Joe Corona scored the first goal in Club Tijuana's Liga de Ascenso triumph over Atlante Neza. … Sonny Guadarrama started both of Merida's Liga clashes, and Marco Vidal was in Leon's lineup.
ETC.: Jaime Ayovi's 73rd-minute strike lifted Toluca (4-4-4) to a 1-1 draw with fifth-place Monterrey (6-4-2), which went ahead through Aldo de Nigris in the fourth minute. … Gallos Blancos (4-6-2) took another step toward survival, rallying from a quick two-goal deficit to beat San Luis, 3-2. Carlos Bueno had the tying and winning goals, the latter in the 87th minute. If the Queretaro-based club loses its last five games, Necaxa (3-7-2) would need three wins in its final five to catch up on the percentage table. … Atlas and Estudiantes Tecos shared the points in a Guadalajara derby, with Mauro Cejas scoring his sixth for the Owls and Honduran forward Carlo Costly getting his first for Atlas. … Santos' Quintero was assessed a six-game suspension Tuesday for striking Cruz Azul's Rogelio Chavez during Saturday's clash. Quintero, who is black, says he was racially provoked. Santos is appealing the sanction.
LIGA DE ASCENSO: Irapuato and Leon put some distance on the rest of Mexico's second league with victories, and Tijuana returned to the No. 3 spot in the standings with a victory over last week's No. 3.
Leon (8-1-4), which crushed Correcaminos, 4-0, behind a Blas Perez hat trick, can vault to the top spot with a win Sunday at eighth-place Cruz Azul Hidalgo. The Esmeraldas, who are 15-1-7 since an 0-6-1 start to the Apertura, are two points behind Irapuato (9-2-3). The top team won, 2-1, at Leones Negros on two Kevin Favela goals and has its bye this weekend. ...
Corona and Luis Enrique tallied for Tijuana (6-2-5) in its 2-0 win. Atlante Neza (6-3-5) is fourth, behind of goal difference. ...
Eder Pacheco scored his 22nd goal of the full season -- 21 in the Liga, one in the Primera -- but Veracruz's bid to beat visiting Alacranes de Durango (and vault to third) failed with Damian Macaluso's last-minute own goal in a 2-2 draw. Alacranes has won just once in its last six games, over Leon. … Edwin Borboa scored an early goal for the third straight game, starting Indios toward a 2-0 victory over La Piedad, ending the Ciudad Juarez club's five-game winless streak.
- PRIMERA DIVISION
Past week's results (home teams listed first)
Necaxa 1 (S. Blanco 6), Guadalajara 2 (X. Baez 2, de la Mora 70)
Jaguares 3 (A. Salazar 18, 25, E. Andrade 33), Pumas UNAM 1 (F. Espinosa 77)
Gallos Blancos 3 (E. Lopez 28, C. Bueno 33, 87), San Luis 2 (Mares 7, Cuevas 21)
UANL Tigres 2 (J. Molina 54, F. Acuņa 85), Atlante 0
Santos Laguna 3 (C. Quintero 1, J. Estrada 30, J. Rodriguez pen. 73), Cruz Azul 0
Atlas 1 (Costly 39), Estudiantes Tecos 1 (Cejas 27)
Toluca 1 (J. Ayovi 73), Monterrey 1 (de Nigris 4)
Morelia 1 (A. Aldrete 83), Pachuca 3 (E. Benitez 9, Arizala 45, B. Luna 91+)
America 5 (A. Reyna 13, 19, 33, V. Sanchez 22, 71), Puebla 4 (F. Borja 42, R. Juarez 57, A. Acosta 67, Pereyra 74)
Group 1: UANL Tigres 23 points, Monterrey 20, Guadalajara 18, Estudiantes Tecos 14, Santos Laguna 13, Necaxa 11.
Group 2: America 19, Atlante 16, Toluca 16, Atlas 16, San Luis 16, Pachuca 13.
Group 3: Pumas UNAM 25, Morelia 21, Cruz Azul 21, Gallos Blancos de Queretaro 14, Puebla 13, Jaguares de Chiapas 11.
Overall (top 8): 1. Pumas UNAM 25 (+10 goal differential); 2. UANL Tigres 23 (+10); 3. Morelia 21 (+7); 4. Cruz Azul 21 (+5); 5. Monterrey 20 (+5); 6. America 19 (+2); 7. Guadalajara 18 (+6); 8. Atlante 16 (+5). Playoffs: If season ended now, top eight would qualify.
Relegation percentage: 1. Necaxa (29 games/27 points) 0.9310; 2. Gallos Blancos (63/72) 1.1429; 3. Jaguares (97/113) 1.1649; 4. Atlas (97/114) 1.1753; 5. Atlante (97/115) 1.1856.
This week's games (all times Pacific)
Gallos Blancos at Estudiantes Tecos, 6:10 p.m.
Morelia at Cruz Azul, 3 p.m.
Santos Laguna at Monterrey, 5 p.m.
America at Guadalajara, 5 p.m.
Jaguares at Pachuca, 5 p.m.
Necaxa at San Luis, 6:45 p.m.
Atlas at Atlante, 7 p.m.
Toluca at Puebla, 10 a.m.
UANL Tigres at Pumas UNAM, 10 a.m.
1. Angel Reyna (America) 9
2. Wilmer Aguirre (San Luis) 7
Christian Bermudez (Atlante) 7
Rafael Marquez Lugo (Morelia) 7
Emanuel Villa (Cruz Azul) 7
6. Carlos Bueno (Gallos Blancos) 6
Mauro Cejas (Estudiantes Tecos) 6
Hector Mancilla (UANL Tigres) 6
9. Juan Carlos Cacho (Pumas UNAM) 5
Vicente Sanchez (America) 5
Humberto Suazo (Monterrey) 5
Erick Torres (Guadalajara) 5
Matias Vuoso (America) 5
1. Christian Benitez (Santos) 19
Humberto Suazo (Monterrey) 19
3. Matias Vuoso (America) 15
4. Mauro Cejas (Estudiantes Tecos) 13
5. Emanuel Villa (Cruz Azul) 12
6. Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey) 11
Christian Gimenez (Cruz Azul) 11
Hector Mancilla (Toluca/UANL Tigres) 11
Miguel Sabah (Morelia) 11
10. Wilmer Aguirre (San Luis) 10
Edgar Benitez (Pachuca) 10
Juan Carlos Cacho (Pumas UNAM) 10
Johan Fano (Atlante) 10
Angel Reyna (America) 10
Vicente Sanchez (America) 10
CONCACAF Champions League
Semifinal, second leg: Monterrey at Cruz Azul, 5 p.m.
Group 1: Libertad (Paraguay) 11 points, Universidad San Martin (Peru) 6, San Luis 5, Once Caldas (Colombia) 4.
Group 3: Argentinos Juniors (Argentina) 7, America 6, Fluminense (Brazil) 5, Nacional (Uruguay) 4.
Group 6: Internacional (Brazil) 10, Emelec (Ecuador) 7, Jaguares 6, Jorge Wilstermann (Bolivia) 0,
Group 3: Argentinos Juniors at America, 7:50 p.m.
Group 6: Internacional at Jaguares, 3:30 p.m.
- LIGA DE ASCENSO
Past week's games (home teams listed first)
Merida 2 (P. Torres 58, S. Gonzalez 59), Pumas Morelos 0
Altamira 0, Cruz Azul Hidalgo 0
Leones Negros 1 (J. Pina pen. 79), Irapuato 2 (Favela 46, 64)
Indios de Ciudad Juarez 2 (E. Borboa 15, O. Rojas 92+), La Piedad 0
Veracruz 2 (M. Romero 55, Eder Pacheco 72), Alacranes de Durango 2 (Vizcarra 61, og. Macaluso 90)
Merida 1 (S. Gonzalez 75), Albinegros de Orizaba 1 (D. Gonzalez 6)
Leon 4 (B. Perez 35, 77, 88, L. Nieves 53), Correcaminos 0
Dorados de Sinaloa 2 (H. Velazquez 40, R. Prieto 60), Lobos BUAP 1 (Metlich 21)
Club Tijuana 2 (J. Corona 39, R. Enriquez 42), Atlante Neza 0
Idle: Pumas Morelos
1. Irapuato 30 points; 2. Leon 28; 3. Club Tijuana 23; 4. Atlante Neza 23; 5. Veracruz 22; 6. UAT Correcaminos 20; 7. Dorados de Sinaloa 20; 8. Cruz Azul Hidalgo 18; 9. Altamira 18; 10. Pumas Morelos 16; 11. Albinegros de Orizaba 14; 12. Indios de Ciudad Juarez 14; 13. Merida 13; 14. U de G Leones Negros 13; 15. Alacranes de Durango 12; 16. La Piedad 11; 17. Lobos BUAP 6.
This week's games (all times Pacific)
Dorados de Sinaloa at Correcaminos, 6:30 p.m.
Merida at Lobos BUAP, 10 a.m.
Altamira at Pumas Morelos, 2 p.m.
Alacranes de Durango at Albinegros de Orizaba, 4 p.m.
Veracruz at Indios de Ciudad Juarez, 5 p.m.
Leones Negros at Atlante Neza, 10 a.m.
Leon at Cruz Azul Hidalgo, 10 a.m.
Club Tijuana at La Piedad, 2 p.m.
1. Ariel Gonzalez (Irapuato) 12
Blas Perez (Leon) 12
3. Roberto Saucedo (Correcaminos) 9
4. Jair Garcia (Cruz Azul Hidalgo) 8
5. Mauricio Romero (Veracruz) 7
Juan Manuel Sara (Lobos BUAP) 7
7. Raul Enriquez (Club Tijuana) 6
8. Edwin Borboa (Indios de Ciudad Juarez) 5
Miler Castillo (Lobos BUAP) 5
Eder Pacheco (Veracruz) 5
Rodrigo Prieto (Dorados de Sinaloa) 5
Pablo Torres (Merida) 5
1. Eder Pacheco (Alacranes/Veracruz) 21
2. Ariel Gonzalez (Irapuato) 18
Juan Manuel Sara (Lobos BUAP) 18
4. Blas Perez (Leon) 17
5. Mauricio Romero (Veracruz) 14
6. Raul Enrique (Club Tijuana) 13
7. Roberto Nurse (Cruz Azul Hidalgo) 12
Miguel Zepeda (Leones Negros) 12
9. Juan Manuel Cavallo (Albinegros) 10
Jair Garcia (Cruz Azul Hidalgo) 10
Roberto Saucedo (Correcaminos) 10