EDGAR ZUNIGA - Monday, January 14, 2013
Herculez Gomez went scoreless but Santos Laguna still beat Chivas, Edgar Castillo helped Club Tijuana remain undefeated, while DaMarcus Beasley's goal drought continued.
Santos Laguna 2 - 0 Chivas
Playing at home on Friday, Santos got their first win of the young season, defeating a woe-be-gone Chivas squad that has fallen to the depths of the standings.
Herculez Gomez started for Santos Laguna and went 88 minutes missing a pair of golden chances to get on the board. Nevertheless, Oribe Peralta did the damage, scoring in the 35th and 76th minutes to give Santos the 2-0 victory.
Gomez had his first opportunity in the first half, when he managed to get behind the defense with the ball but fired the ball directly at Chivas goalkeeper Luis Ernesto Michel. The rebound came to Peralta, who shot toward the open net only to have the ball go wide.
After being corralled in their side of the field for most of the first half, Chivas finally began to dictate the pace of the match and were beginning to lace a few passes together. That's when Peralta scored, taking a pass from Darwin Quintero, spinning to fire with his left foot toward the right post and scoring.
In the second half Chivas looked determined to even things, but were foiled by last second stops by the hurried Santos defense.
On a Santos counterattack, Quintero went running up the right flank, leaving behind the Chivas defenders and placing a pass right at Gomez, who was off balance and was unable to knock the ball into the net with his right foot.
Meanwhile, Santos 'keeper Oswaldo Sánchez made several superb saves to frustrate the Chivas attack. Then, in the 76th minute Santos midfielder Marc Crosas booted a great, long pass to Peralta, who shook off his defender and beat Michel with a great shot, leaving Chivas fuming at time when they were dominating possession.
Finally, in injury time Chivas got a chance to get on the scoreboard when Marco Fabián was fouled in the 18-yard box by Osmar Mares. Luis Pérez took an erratic penalty shot, which was covered up by Sánchez, preserving the shutout.
The victory places Santos in fourth place, while Chivas plummeted to 16th.
Club Tijuana 1 - 0 Leon
While Greg Garza has yet to play this season, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both started for Club Tijuana in their first home game since winning the Liga MX championship, defeating a toothless Leon squad.
A goal by Alfredo Moreno in the seventh minute was all the Xoloitzcuintles needed to defeat Leon, whose fearsome offense from last season has gone missing this time around.
Moreno, who was celebrating his 33rd birthday on Saturday, scored the goal on the first clear chance either team had when Fernando Arce filtered a pass to him from the top of the 18-yard box as Moreno streaked past the Leon defenders, finding himself alone with Leon 'keeper Christian Martinez and beating him with a well-placed shot.
The play, which started along the left flank, was actually kept alive by Castillo, who centered a pass to Corona, who decided to let the ball roll to Arce.
Leon tried in vain to score as the half wore on, but Xolos 'keeper Cirilo Saucedo was well-positioned to stop anything that went his way.
In the second half, Club Tijuana pressed on the attack and nearly scored a second goal when Castillo passed to Fidel Martinez, who noticed Martinez had come off his line and tried to cross the ball into the net only to have Leon defender Oscar Mascorro keep the ball out of the net.
In the 68th minute, Leon was left with 10 men after Carlos Alberto Peña got a straight red on a hard foul on Martinez. However, the Xolos were unable to do much with the advantage, especially after Leandro Agusto was red-carded after a hard foul on Rafa Marquez, just two minutes after subbing in.
Regardless, Club Tijuana was able to hold on for the victory and find themselves tied for first in points, but third on goal differential. Leon, meanwhile, dropped to 12th place.
Toluca 1 - 1 Puebla
On Sunday, both DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco started for Puebla as they just missed out on a rare victory on the road against the Red Devils of Toluca.
For a good 25 minutes, it seemed that Puebla would finally get their first victory at Estadio Nemesio Diez in 17 years, after Felix Borja put Puebla ahead in the 62nd minute. Alas, a goal in the 88th minute by Lucas Silva saved the Devils from a disastrous result.
Despite the late heroics and suspense during the last 30 minutes or so, it was a largely uninspired affair from both teams.
Beasley, who went yet another game without scoring a goal, was subbed out in the 69th minute, but Orozco went the full 90.
Up until the 60th minute, the match had gone by woefully absent of any incident when, suddenly, Puebla's Segundo Castillo fired a long-distance shot that would have given Puebla the lead if it weren't for a save by Alfredo Talavera.
Then, two minute later, Puebla came back down to Talavera's box, where Borja chested down a pass from Castillo, spun around his defender and fired to the opposite post and past Talavera to the shock of the surprisingly sparse home crowd.
As the clock ticked closer to 90, Puebla could almost taste victory. However, Silva saved the Red Devils when on counter, Juan Carlos Tejada headed the ball into the path of the streaking Silva, who fired to the far post and under the outstretched arms of Alexandro Álvarez, giving the home fans something to cheer about.
Toluca has yet to win a match, with two draws, and find themselves in 10th place. Meanwhile, Puebla find themselves in familiar territory, in 15th place, with a draw and a loss.
Francisco Torres, who is still nursing an injury, missed Tigres' 3-1 victory over Isaac Acuña's Atlante. Acuña has yet to play this season.
In Ascenso MX action, Jesus Padilla and La Piedad lost 2-1 on the road at Estudiantes Tecos, Marco Vidal and Lobos BUAP got shutout 1-0 at Correcaminos, and Adrian Ruelas and Veracruz got a 2-2 draw on the road at Celaya.