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MEXICO: Capitalino carries Pumas

10/4/2011

Defending champ Pumas UNAM is back on top of the Mexican Primera Division standings after adding to crosstown rival America's misery.

Luis Fuentes' goal 10 minutes into the second half of Saturday's Clasico Capitalino stood up for a 1-0 triumph at Estadio Olimpico Universitario and boosted the Cats (6-3-2) from fifth in the standings, past Jaguares, Cruz Azul, Guadalajara and UANL Tigres.

Pumas is 5-0-1 the past three weeks, all competitions, after failing to win in its previous seven matches.

A rich race for the regular-season title and eight playoff berths looks set with six games to go. Pumas' lead on Jaguares is just a point, Tigres, Cruz Azul and Guadalajara are just another point back, and three more teams are another point behind. Another five clubs are two or three points out of the top eight.

Not in that group of contenders is America, which hasn't won since Aug. 21 and sits 16th in the standings with a 2-5-4 record.

  • THE TOP 3

1. CHANGE FOR CHIVAS

The September skid that knocked Guadalajara from the top of the Apertura standings down to fifth has cost technical director Jose Luis Real his job.

Chivas on Monday canned Real and replaced him with former Mexican national-teamer Fernando Quirarte, a center back who played 11 seasons for the club in the 1970s and '80s and has coached at Santos Laguna, Atlas and Jaguares.

The Goats have won just once in six games since late August, and Saturday's loss to Gallos Blancos was their second in a row at home and extended their winless streak to four games. They were 5-0-1 after beating Monterrey on Aug. 20 and have fallen behind Pumas, Jaguares, Tigres and Cruz Azul, but just two points off the lead.

“I always look to be champion,” Quirarte, who captained Guadalajara to the Primera Division championship in 1987, told media in Jalisco. “Many of these players do not know what it takes, and I know from my days as a coach and player, and now we need to convey these experiences to them.”

Real had been in charge since November 2009, guiding Guadalajara to the Copa Libertadores final last year and developing a young, academy-built team into the top tier of Mexican sides. The decision to reassign him as the club's director of basic services caught most by surprise. Club president Rafael Ortega said the math wasn't working and that “we believe that with this, we will reverse our steps and return to the level” from the start of the season.

2. GALINDO LIFTS SANTOS

America, Tijuana and Atlas are still waiting for midseason coaching changes to have the desired effect, but Santos Laguna can't be happier with their move.

Benjamin Galindo, appointed a month ago after a rough patch for the club, has guided the Guerreros to a 5-0-1 mark in two competitions, driving them to sixth place in the Apertura standings -- just three points off the lead with one game in hand -- and clinching a berth in next year's quarterfinals in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Santos (5-3-2) last weekend won its third straight league under Galindo, a 1-0 triumph over Cruz Azul on Oribe Peralta's 21st-minute strike, his 10th goal this season in all competitions. The Torreon-based club is one of two, with the Seattle Sounders, to get through group play in the regional championship with one game to go, claiming its final-eight spot with a 1-1 midweek draw at Honduras' Real España.

“There is no magic,” Galindo told local media, “just the coaching staff working well with the group, in all respects. It's really the players giving you that little extra and playing in the way we want to play.”

  • 3. QUERETARO RISES

Can Gallos Blancos' victory at Guadalajara really be considered an upset?

Queretaro is one of the hottest teams in Mexico, and Saturday's triumph followed victories in the previous three weeks over Pumas and Monterrey. That's three wins in the past four games under Jose Cardozo, who took over in mid-August, for a club that had won just 11 of 48 league matches over 18 months.

The little streak has vaulted the White Roosters to seventh in the standings, just three points from the lead, and provided a cushion in the relagation table.

  • QUICK KICKS

DaMarcus Beasley scored his second goal of the campaign, but Puebla conceded twice in the second half and lost, 2-1, at San Luis. ... Javier Gandolfi tallied in the 88th as Tijuana avoided a home defeat to Tigres, pulling out a 1-1 draw. ... Monterrey's league winless streak hit six with a scoreless draw at home vs. Toluca. ... Jaime Ayovi led visiting Pachuca past Atlante, 1-0, ending the Potros' four-game winning streak and dropping them from sixth to 11th in the standings. ... Estudiantes Tecos jumped from 14th to ninth with a 2-0 win at Morelia. Both goals were set up by Lucas Baraglio. ... La Piedad's lead in the second-tier Liga de Ascenso is down to two points after a 0-0 draw with Leon. Necaxa jumped past Toros Neza and Pumas Morelos into second place with a 1-0 victory at Irapuato. ... Carlos Ruiz scored twice for Veracruz, which is seventh after a 3-0 romp over last-place Merida.

  • THE NUMBERS

PRIMERA DIVISION

Last week's results (home teams listed first)

Jornada 11

Friday

Jaguares de Chiapas 1 (Rey 34), Atlas 1 (D. Arreola 47)

Saturday

Pumas UNAM 1 (L. Fuentes 55), America 0

Morelia 0, Estudiantes Tecos 2 (Leaño 58, Lillingston 64)

Monterrey 0, Toluca 0

Santos Laguna 1 (O. Peralta 21), Cruz Azul 0

Guadalajara 0, Gallos Blancos 1 (J. Ruiz 6)

San Luis 2 (A. Moreno 56, Chiapas 75), Puebla 1 (Beasley 12)

Atlante 0, Pachuca 1 (J. Ayovi 68)

Sunday

Club Tijuana 1 (Gandolfi 88), UANL Tigres 1 (L. Lobos 40)

Standings: 1. Pumas UNAM 20 points; 2. Jaguares 19; 3. UANL Tigres 18; 4. Cruz Azul 18; 5. Guadalajara 18; 6. Santos Laguna 17; 7. Gallos Blancos 17; 8. Pachuca 17; 9. Estudiantes Tecos 15; 10. San Luis 15; 11. Atlante 15; 12. Toluca 15; 13. Monterrey 14; 14. Morelia 13; 15. Puebla 13; 16. America 10; 17. Tijuana 8; 18. Atlas 6

Relegation percentage: 1. Tijuana (11 games/8 points) 0.7273; 2. Atlas (79/84) 1.0633; 3. Estudiantes Tecos (79/86) 1.0866; 4. Gallos Blancos (79/91) 1.1519; 5. Puebla (79/95) 1.2025; 6. Jaguares (79/96) 1.2152; 6. Atlante and San Luis (79/97) 1.2278. Atop the list: 1. Cruz Azul (79/141) 1.7848; 2. Monterrey (79/138) 1.7468; 3. Santos (78/125) 1.6026; 4. Pumas UNAM (79/125) 1.5823; 5. Morelia (78/123) 1.5769; 6. Toluca (79/123) 1.5570

This week's games (all times Pacific)

Jornada 12

Friday

Monterrey at Estudiantes Tecos, 6:10 p.m.

Saturday

Puebla at Cruz Azul, 3 p.m.

Santos at Gallos Blancos, 3 p.m.

Pumas at Tigres, 5 p.m.

Jaguares at Pachuca, 5 p.m.

Tijuana at Atlas, 6:45 p.m.

San Luis at Atlante, 7 p.m.

Sunday

Guadalajara at Toluca, 10 a.m.

Morelia at America, 2 p.m.

Schedule subject to change

Goals leaders

1. Carlos Bueno (Gallos Blancos) 8

2. Ivan Alonso (Toluca) 7

Christian Benitez (America) 7

Luis Gabriel Rey (Jaguares) 7

5. Hector Mancilla (UANL Tigres) 6

Oribe Peralta (Santos) 6

7. Dayro Moreno (Tijuana) 5

Luis Perez (Monterrey) 5

9. Jaime Ayovi (Pachuca) 4

Michael Arroyo (San Luis) 4

Franco Arizala (Jaguares) 4

Enrique Esqueda (Pachuca) 4

Herculez Gomez (Estudiantes Tecos) 4

Lucas Lobos (UANL Tigres) 4

Giancarlo Maldonado (Atlante) 4

Miguel Sabah (Morelia) 4

Humberto Suazo (Monterrey) 4

LIGA DE ASCENSO

Last week's results (home teams listed first)

Jornada 9

Friday

Correcaminos 2 (D. Olsina 58, A. Velazquez 93+), Lobos BUAP 1 (J. Zarate 15)

Leones Negros 1 (Castillejos 84), Toros Neza 0

Saturday

Irapuato 0, Necaxa 1 (V. Lojero 66)

Veracruz 3 (C. Ruiz 34, 62, J. Pineda 94+), Merida 0

Celaya 1 (P. Gomez 4), Dorados de Sinaloa 0

Sunday

La Piedad 0, Leon 0

Cruz Azul Hidalgo 1 (V. Garcia 64), Altamira 2 (I. Valadez 51, E. Vazquez 54)

Pumas Morelos 2 (M. Jimenez 46, D. Garay 73), Indios de Ciudad Juarez 2 (V. Bernardez 78, 80)

Standings: 1. La Piedad 19; 2. Necaxa 17; 3. Correcaminos 15; 4. Toros Neza 15; 5. Pumas Morelos 15; 6. Leon 14; 7. Veracruz 14; 8. Irapuato 13; 9. Leones Negros 13; 10. Altamira 13; 11. Celaya 12; 12. Dorados de Sinaloa 9; 13. Indios de Ciudad Juarez 8; 14. Cruz Azul Hidalgo 7; 15. Lobos BUAP 7; 16. Merida 3

This week's games (all times Pacific)

Jornada 10

Friday

Correcaminos at Altamira, 5 p.m.

La Piedad at Necaxa, 6 p.m.

Saturday

Celaya at Merida, 5 p.m.

Cruz Azul Hidalgo at Dorados, 5 p.m.

Irapuato at Indios, 5 p.m.

Veracruz at Leon, 6 p.m.

Sunday

Pumas Morelos at Toros Neza, 10 a.m.

Leones Negros at Lobos, 10 a.m.

Schedule subject to change

Goals leaders

1. Roberto Saucedo (Correcaminos) 7

Pablo Torres (Dorados) 7

3. Jose Cruz Gutierrez (Irapuato) 6

Luciano Emilio (Toros Neza/Cruz Azul Hidalgo) 6

Roberto Nurse (La Piedad) 6

Ismael Valadez (Altamira) 6

7. Diego Olsina (Correcaminos) 5

Eder Pacheco (Leon) 5

9. Guillermo Clemens (Celaya) 4

Ever Guzman (Merida) 4

Victor Mañon (Indios) 4

Nelson Maz (Leon) 4

Carlos Ruiz (Veracruz) 4

Juan Manuel Sara (Correcaminos/Lobos BUAP) 4

CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Last week's results (home team listed first)

Group Stage, Round 5

Tuesday

C:
Toronto FC 1 (Marosevic 35), Pumas UNAM 1 (Palacios 51)

D: Monterrey 1 (de Nigris), Herediano (Costa Rica) 0

Wednesday

B:
Real España (Honduras) 1 (M. Martinez 61), Santos Laguna 1 (C. Ochoa 51)

A: Galaxy 2 (Magee 21, Juninho 91+), Morelia 1 (Marquez Lugo 59)

Upcoming games (all times Pacific)

Group Stage, Round 6

Tuesday, Oct. 18

A:
Alajuelense (Costa Rica) at Morelia, 5 p.m.

D: Monterrey at Seattle Sounders, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 19

B:
Colorado Rapids at Santos Laguna, 5 p.m.

C: Tauro (Panama) at Pumas UNAM, 7 p.m.

Standings

A:
1. Alajuelense (Costa Rica) 12 points; 2. Morelia 9; 3. Galaxy 9; 4. Motagua (Honduras) 0

B: 1. x-Santos Laguna 10; 2. Colorado Rapids 7; 3. Isidro Metapan (El Salvador) 6; 4. Real España (Honduras) 4

C: 1. Pumas UNAM 8; 2. FC Dallas 7; 3. Toronto FC 7; 4. Tauro (Panama) 5

D: 1. x-Seattle Sounders 10; 2. Monterrey 9; 3. Comunicaciones (Guatemala) 7; 4. Herediano (Costa Rica) 3

x -- advances to quarterfinals