EDGAR ZUNIGA - Sunday, February 24, 2013
Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna shot down Club America, José Francisco Torres and Tigres defeated Cruz Azul, while DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco suffered a mauling of Puebla.
Santos Laguna 1 - 0 Club America
Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna defeated Club America in a tense Friday-night battle that seemed more playoff match than regular season encounter.
Despite Club America controlling most of the possession, it was a golazo in the 18th minute by Darwin Quintero that was the difference. Oribe Peralta back-heeled to Quintero, who didn't think twice and unleashed a rocket that left Club America goalkeeper Moisés Muñoz in the dust.
Santos Laguna kept pushing along the flanks, looking for another goal via a centering pass, while Club America fought to establish dominance in the Santos Laguna half of the field.
Then, in the 53rd minute, Santos Laguna had a golden opportunity to put the game on lockdown when Peralta was fouled by Francisco Javier Rodríguez in the 18-yard box and the referee signaled for a penalty kick.
However, Juan Pablo Rodríguez was unable to convert the goal and Club America breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Gomez went as far as the 60th, when he was subbed out for Marc Crosas.
As the game wore on, players from both teams began to show signs of fatigue but they kept attacking, with Club America driving the Santos Laguna defense crazy and nearly scoring on several occasions.
Nevertheless, Santos Laguna was able to hold on for a very much deserved three points.
The victory leaves Santos Laguna in sixth place, while Club America found themselves in third.
Cruz Azul 1 - 2 Tigres
José Francisco Torres and Tigres continue to rip through Liga MX, defeating Cruz Azul on Saturday, and remained atop the league.
Emanuel Villa did not wait long to give Tigres the lead, putting his team ahead in the sixth minute.
Luis Perea fouled Villa outside the 18-yard box. Lucas Lobos stepped up for the free kick and fired a curving shot that hit the crossbar and bounced to the feet of Villa among a throng of players and he knocked the ball into the net for the 1-0 score.
Villa, an ex-Cruz Azul player, did not celebrate the goal, letting his teammates offer celebratory embraces.
The second Tigres goal came on a similar play in the 26th minute when Damián Álvarez ran into the box from the left flank and stepped over to leave defender Gerardo Flores planted before firing a shot that was stopped by diving Cruz Azul 'keeper Jesús Corona, but the rebound was tapped in by Villa.
Cruz Azul got one back in the 59th minute when Chaco Giménez battled a defender into the 18-yard box and fired a shot that scooted under Tigres 'keeper Enrique Palos and into the net.
Three minutes later, Torres was subbed out for Jesús Alberto Dueñas.
Javier Orozco nearly tied the game in the 81st minute, when he managed to get off a scissor kick that looked to be headed into the goal but ended up hitting teammate Nicolás Bertolo on the back and the chance was lost.
Tigres remained in first and undefeated, while Cruz Azul dropped to 11th place.
Monterrey 3 - 0 Puebla
After a series of good results, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco and Puebla suffered a beatdown, courtesy of Monterrey.
Neither Orozco nor Beasley finished the game.
While Beasley went goalless and was subbed out at halftime, Orozco was ejected in the 53rd minute when he handled the ball on the goal line, trying to stop the second Monterrey goal.
This led to a Monterrey penalty kick, which was scored by Humberto Suazo in the 55th minute, giving Monterrey a 2-0 lead.
Suazo was also involved in Monterrey's first goal, which came in the 26th minute when he headed a terrific centering pass to Aldo de Nigris, who leapt to head the ball into the net.
De Nigris scored Monterrey's third in the 70th minute when César Delgado centered the ball to the far post, where de Nigris knocked the ball in for the 3-0 score.
The rest of the game was all Monterrey pushing to pour on more goals while Puebla defended their net every which way they could.
Monterrey climbed to 12th with the win, while Puebla's setback dropped them to 10th.
With Greg Garza nowhere to be seen and Edgar Castillo serving time due to red-card suspension, Joe Corona was the only Yank to make an appearance in Club Tijuana's 2-0 victory over Atlante. Corona came on as a sub in the 86th minute for Alfredo Moreno but was a non-factor.