EDGAR ZUNIGA - Monday, January 21, 2013
Tigres remains perfect in Francisco Torres' return, DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco help Puebla stun Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna, and Edgar Castillo and Club Tijuana stayed on top.
Tigres 1-0 Atlas
With Francisco Torres back in the fold, Tigres didn't miss a beat and remained unbeaten with a victory over Atlas.
However, despite maintaining their perfect record, Tigres fell to second place, as Club America destroyed Atlante 4-0 to leapfrog Tigres on goal differential into first place.
Torres played 70 minutes and almost got on the scoreboard in the 32nd minute when his shot from distance flew just over the crossbar.
Nevertheless, six minutes later, Emanuel Villa scored the only goal of the match. Danilinho ran up the right flank and sent a centering pass into the box. Damián Álvarez was unable to get his head to the ball, but it fell to Villa, who chested the ball down and fired with his right foot to the near post for the 1-0 lead.
Although Tigres did have some other attempts at increasing their lead, the story of the day was a suffocating defense that earned its second shutout in three matches.
Puebla 2-1 Santos Laguna
After eight long years, Puebla finally defeated Santos Laguna in a Clash of Gringos that featured Michael Orozco and DaMarcus Beasley versus Herculez Gomez.
With Beasley on the bench, Orozco had to go at it alone in the early going against Gomez and a Santos team looking to reestablish themselves among the league's elite. Instead, all they got was a huge shock and a barrel full of doubt.
Félix Borja gave Puebla the lead in the 32nd minute, when he took advantage of a defensive mistake by Felipe Baloy, getting around him and shooting underneath Oswaldo Sánchez.
With Puebla up 1-0 at the half, Orozco was subbed out. In the 56th minute, Oribe Peralta responded for Santos when Jonathan Larcerda nearly scored an own goal and the rebound came to Peralta who scored from the six-yard box, to level the score at 1-1.
Gomez almost put his team on top in the 69th minute, when he took a shot that just missed wide.
In that same minute, Beasley, who had been originally declared as injured, was subbed in for Matías Alustiza, With Beasley in the attack, Puebla began to attack more and, playing with more grit than finesse, scrapped for a couple of opportunities to score, with attempts by Luis Miguel Noriega and Beasley.
Then, in injury time, when it seemed Puebla would have to settle for a draw, Noriega connected with a header on a free kick to knock the ball into the net, giving Puebla a dramatic 2-1 victory.
The huge victory was the first for Puebla this season, and they climbed to 10th place, leaving seventh-place Santos bemoaning missed opportunities.
Pumas 1-2 Club Tijuana
Although Joe Corona and Greg Garza didn't play, Edgar Castillo went the full 90 in Club Tijuana's dominant road victory over Pumas.
Despite their championship status, the Xoloitzcuintles continue to raise eyebrows with their ever-evolving brand of soccer that is proving that last season was no fluke. Their 2-1 victory over Pumas was not as close as the scoreboard made it seem, playing with confidence and efficiency.
Xolos captain Javier Gandolfí seemed to have put his team ahead in the 20th minute when he headed a free kick into the goal but it was quickly waived off as he was deemed offside.
Pumas took control of the ball for a while, but just when it seemed they would be the ones to score first they lost possession of the ball, which was quickly scooped up by Fernando Arce, who raced toward the other half. The ball then went to Alfredo Moreno, who fought off a defender and passed to a streaking Richard Ruiz, who shot past Alejandro Palacios for the 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.
Club Tijuana then comfortably fell back into their half with a defense that choked out any attempt by the Pumas offense.
The second Club Tijuana goal was also the product of a counterattack that saw David Cabrera foul Fidel Martinez just outside the 18-yard box. Fernando Arce then blasted a precise shot on the free kick that beat Palacio to the left upper corner of the net, giving the Xolos a 2-0 lead in the 68th minute.
Near the end of the game, Javier Cortés was able to score for Pumas on a shot from outside the box that beat Cirilo Saucedo. But, it wasn't enough and the Xolos held on for the 2-1 victory, keeping them in a three-way tie for first place on points, but in third place on goal differential.
In Liga Ascenso action, on Friday, Marco Vidal and Lobos BUAP destroyed visiting Dorados 3-0. On Saturday's Clash of Gringos Lite, Adrian Ruelas and Veracruz play defeated visiting Jesus Padilla and La Piedad, 1-0.