EDGAR ZUNIGA - Monday, January 28, 2013
Whether winning or losing, it was a yellow weekend for the Yanks in the Liga MX, as they picked up three cautions in total
Santos 2-0 León
On Friday, Herculez Gomez helped set up the second goal for Santos in their victory over León, as they try to keep pace with the front runners of Liga MX.
Santos did what was necessary in their 2-0 victory over once fearsome León, whose offense was kept in check yet again as they remain winless in the Clausura 2013 season.
Santos took the initiative from the beginning, pushing on the attack and reducing León to feeble attempts on the counterattack.
After knocking on the door repeatedly, Santos finally tore the door down in the 18th minute when Néstor Calderón chested a centering pass down and passed to Rodolfo Salinas, who unleashed a blast that put Santos up 1-0.
Nevertheless, León kept fighting back and managed a few forays into Santos territory, but although they came close, were unable to finish their opportunities.
Gomez , who got the start, went 83 minutes before being subbed out but was vital on his team's second goal, which came in the 57th minute. Rodolfo Salinas crossed a pass over to Gomez, who then headed the ball directly to Oribe Peralta, who nudged the ball with his head into the net for the 2-0 lead.
With a comfortable lead, Santos decided to work on possession of the ball, spreading the field and nullifying the starved León offense.
The victory helps Santos reach 7 points, good enough for fifth place. Meanwhile, the only thing keeping León from dead last is goal differential.
Cruz Azul 4-0 Puebla
DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla suffered through a humiliating beat down against Cruz Azul, as Beasley went scoreless yet again, was tagged with a yellow card, and subbed out at the half.
Michael Orozco missed Saturday's game due to injury, but he might not have made much of a difference as Cruz Azul thoroughly crushed Puebla 4-0 to remain unbeaten thus far.
However, in the beginning stages of the match it didn't seem the game would be so one-sided as Puebla was able to threaten the Cruz Azul goal but Beasley and Félix Borja lacked the finishing touch to put Puebla ahead.
After chipping away, Cruz Acul finally began to take control of the game and their first goal came in the 34th minute when Gerardo Torrado looped a pass into the 18-yard box to Christian Giménez, who scored on a flying header.
Just a few minutes later, Beasley was shown a yellow card for dangerous play, as the frustration was building for him and his teammates.
Then, on a Cruz Azul corner kick right before halftime, Puebla defender Efraín Dimayuga pushed Cruz Azul's Julio Domínguez in the area and referee César Arturo Ramos called for a penalty kick, which was scored moments later by Hugo Pavone, putting his team up 2-0 at the half.
That would be all for Beasley, who was replaced by William Paredes.
Any attempt at a Puebla comeback was quickly extinguished, when five minutes into the second half, Cruz Azul scored again when Pavone passed to Teófilo Gutiérrez, who had subbed in at the half, and he had enough time to set up and fire a bullet to the upper right corner of the net, leaving Puebla goalkeeper Alexandro Álvarez on one knee.
Javier Aquino finished off the slaughter in the 61st minute, when Pavone filtered a pass to him as he broke through the Puebla defense to find himself one-on-one with Alvarez and beat him low and to his left, to put the score at 4-0.
Giménez almost scored a fifth goal when he outpaced the Puebla defense to go alone against Alvarez, but the 'keeper closed down his angle and Giménez wasn't able to chase the ball down and score before it went over the touch line.
The victory leaves Cruz Azul in fourth, right behind Club America, who suffered a hard 2-1 loss to Atlas. Meanwhile, Puebla fell to 13th place, and are just three points from falling all the way to last place.
Queretaro 0-2 Tigres
José Francisco Torres got the start and went 70 minutes in his team's victory over Queretaro, as Tigres remains unstoppable and in first place.
Although they put forth a tenacious defensive effort, the Gallos Blancos were unable to pull off the upset against Tigres due to an ineffective offense, which only ventured forward on counterattacks.
With Queretaro practically "parking the bus," Tigres had a very hard time trying to generate offense of their own, and it took two impressive goals for them to earn the victory.
Danilinho almost scored for Tigres in the 30th minute, but an incredible finger-tip save by Sergio García kept the ball out of the Queretaro net.
However, nine minutes later, Emanuel Villa took the ball on his own and sliced through the Queretaro defense-eluding one defender, shook off another one, avoided a sliding tackle before firing a hard shot that García was unable to stop, putting Tigres up 1-0.
Queretaro had no answer, and although they tried, failed on any attempts to get their offense going.
With the game winding down, Queretaro finally took possession of the ball and desperately tried to tie the game. However, Tigres flipped the script, scoring on a counterattack that ended with Villa passing to Danilinho in the 18-yard box, who shot the ball into the net, giving Tigres a 2-0 lead in the 89th minute.
Although Torres didn't figure in the scoring, he got a yellow card in the 18th minute on a hard foul.
While Tigres remains ahead of Club Tijuana on goal differential, Queretaro find themselves mired in the middle of the table with 5 points.
Club Tijuana 2-0 Pachuca
Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both started as Club Tijuana remained perfect with a solid victory over visiting Pachuca.
Although Greg Garza has yet to make an appearance this season, Castillo and Corona continue to represent for the Three Amigos. And while Corona was not involved in either goal scored by the Xoloitzcuintles, Castillo and the rest of his defensive partners put the clamps on Pachuca's offense to earn the shutout.
While Club Tijuana patiently looked for ways to score, Pachuca settled on counterattacking, almost scoring in the 26th minute, when Corona gave the ball away and Pachuca's Darío Carreño passed to Ángel Reyna, whose right-footed shot hit the right post.
With the game scoreless at the half, Corona was replaced by Duvier Riascos, who brought more aggressiveness to the Club Tijuana front line.
In the 54th minute, Cristian Pellerano sent a long pass forward that Riascos was able to track down but when he tried to score, Pachuca's Paulo Da Silva hit the ball with his hand, which prompted referee Ricardo Arellano to call for a penalty kick.
Alfredo Moreno stepped up and scored, giving the Xolos a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute.
Although Club Tijuana clearly dominated the affair, their second goal wouldn't come until the 83rd minute, when Fernando Arce took a corner kick, which was redirected by Richard Ruiz to Raúl Enríquez, who knocked the ball into the net.
Castillo went the full 90, but was shown a yellow card in the 16th minute for a hard foul.
The victory sets up a momentous clash next week, when unbeaten Club Tijuana and Tigres collide in a battle for supremacy in Liga MX.