Liga MX playoffs: Chivas, Cruz Azul advance as Monterrey shocked by San Luis

The Liga MX quarterfinals is formally set! Whereas the highest 4 within the 2022 Clausura common season got byes, seeds 5 by way of 12 all battled it out this previous weekend in an enthralling play-in spherical. With eight groups now remaining, listed here are 4 speaking factors from the newest batch of play-in video games and a few ideas forward of this week’s two-legged quarterfinal matches.

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Table of Contents

Chivas cruise previous Pumas, get rivals Atlas

Over the previous few years, and out of doors of the Matias Almeyda period that noticed the crew win two Liga MX crowns and a CONCACAF Champions League title, there was no time period as thrilling and promising for Chivas as there may be now. The No. 6 seed aspect not solely brushed apart No. 11 seed Pumas 4-1 on Sunday within the play-in spherical, but in addition appeared to as soon as once more rejuvenate their gamers and the Estadio Akron crowd that has change into extra boisterous and fascinating with every passing week.

Beneath interim supervisor Ricardo Cadena, Chivas are in the midst of an ideal five-game profitable streak since he took cost after Marcelo Michel Leano was fired final month.

Sunday’s victory, which occurred to land on goalscorer Fernando Beltran’s birthday and on the membership’s 116th anniversary, was additionally vital for ahead Alexis Vega, who celebrated his contract extension with Chivas throughout a presentation earlier than kickoff.

“I’m completely grateful [for the fans], it was additionally for them that I stayed. I signed [my extension] with none worry,” Vega mentioned following his objective and help within the win. “I’m in the perfect crew in Mexico.”

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Up subsequent for Chivas within the quarterfinal spherical of the playoffs: A Clásico Tapatío collection in opposition to crosstown rivals and present title-holders, No. 3 seed Atlas.

Whereas Chivas could have extra momentum, Atlas could have extra defensive solidity with Camilo Vargas main in internet. Absences for each groups might additionally impression the quarterfinal collection. For an Atlas aspect which have had just a few query marks over their frontline, some setbacks is perhaps felt by the exit of attacking midfielder Jairo Torres to the Chicago Fireplace earlier this month.

Over at Chivas, their celebrations on Sunday have been considerably bittersweet after the membership introduced that winger Jesus Angulo‘s season is over and would require surgical procedure for a fibula fracture that can sideline him for 12 weeks.

Jurado’s heroics units up Cruz Azul-Tigres conflict

Cruz Azul goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado had among the finest performances in his profession on Saturday, serving to lead No. 8 seed Los Cementeros to a slender play-in victory over No. 9 Necaxa by way of a penalty shootout. Regardless of permitting a late equalizer within the 88th minute that cemented a 1-1 scoreline, 24-year-old Jurado was massively influential along with his six saves in regulation time and two further stops within the ensuing spherical of penalties — which ended 3-1 in Cruz Azul’s favor.

“It’s an indescribable emotion. To have my dad and mom, my brother right here [as well],” mentioned the goalkeeper after the match to TUDN whereas wanting up on the Estadio Azteca crowd that was chanting his title.

Within the latest previous, this wasn’t at all times the case for Jurado. Whereas long-time starter and captain Jose de Jesus Corona was recovering from an harm, Jurado was typically criticized for a handful of uninspiring outings in internet. Now, with Corona absolutely match, it stays up within the air if supervisor Juan Reynoso will give a beginning spot again to the 41-year-old veteran or to Jurado within the upcoming quarterfinal collection in opposition to No. 2 seed Tigres.

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The common season runner-ups will probably be a way more troublesome check for Cruz Azul, and even when star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac isn’t absolutely match, Tigres haven’t any lack of firepower of their squad that scored 30 objectives over 17 matches. Remember the fact that the away-goal tiebreaker is now not utilized within the Liga MX playoff construction, which means that if either side are degree after the 2 quarterfinal legs, Tigres would undergo as the upper seed.

San Luis upsets high-powered Monterrey

Heading right into a penalty shootout after a 2-2 scoreline in regulation time, it at first appeared as if the soccer gods have been wanting extra kindly in the direction of No. 7 seed Monterrey. Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Vincent Janssen had scored as soon as once more after ending a 2022 objective drought in his earlier match, and following two objectives from No. 10 seed San Luis within the second half, Monterrey fought again valiantly and finally earned a dramatic equalizer from 21-year-old Michell Rodriguez within the 96th minute.

Monterrey’s Estadio BBVA Bancomer erupted right into a frenzy on Saturday, sensing that an invite into the following playoff spherical might be inside their grasp.

Then, issues started to crumble for Los Rayados within the penalty shootout. With former Monterrey goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero in internet for San Luis, the Argentine took cost with two stops that secured a 3-1 win by way of penalties for the away aspect. Monterrey, whose talent-heavy roster has reportedly the very best whole market worth in Liga MX, had simply misplaced at residence to a crew whose worth is the sixth-lowest within the league.

Since main Brazil‘s U23s to a gold medal within the 2020 Olympics, San Luis supervisor Andre Jardine has turned heads after becoming a member of them earlier this yr and pushing them to the quarterfinals. That mentioned, performances from his roster are usually erratic, which isn’t precisely a promising signal forward of a two-legged collection in opposition to No. 1 seed Pachuca.

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To make issues tougher, beginning San Luis defender Unai Bilbao suffered a ligament harm that would presumably go away him out of the remainder of the playoffs.

Puebla survives on pens, will face America

Lower than 24 hours after Saturday’s play-in matches went to penalties, Sunday’s first recreation between No. 5 seed Puebla and No. 12 seed Mazatlan adopted go well with. Puebla, initially up 2-0 by the 14th minute, discovered themselves pinned again by a Mazatlan aspect that got here roaring again with objectives within the thirty seventh and within the 91st.

Throughout Puebla’s Estadio Cuauhtemoc, Mazatlan’s away followers celebrated wildly with little information that each crew that scored a late equalizer that Liga MX weekend would go on to lose 3-1 in a penalty shootout.

This time, it was Puebla goalkeeper Antony Silva that shined in internet. With two saves within the shootout, the goalkeeper completely arrange 21-year-old Israel Reyes for the game-winning alternative.

The end result was emblematic of the never-say-die perspective that has outlined Puebla and their 37-year-old supervisor Nicolas Larcamon this season. Trying again on the aforementioned whole market values, it’s vital to do not forget that regardless of being ranked because the fourth-lowest in Liga MX, they have been additionally one which emerged because the league-leaders within the first half of the 2022 Clausura. Regardless of a drop in kind on the finish of the common season, Larcamon and his males are an thrilling darkish horse that will probably be keen to begin their quarterfinal problem in opposition to No. 4 seed Membership America.

“We’re going for an amazing collection [against Club America]. A historic collection for the membership, for the group, and that’s what we’re right here for,” mentioned Larcamon within the post-game information convention.