Liga MX: Copa MX – Cruz Azul, Atlas battle to stalemate; Tijuana shines

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 04: Edgar Mendez of Cruz Azul celebrates during the third round match between Cruz Azul and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 04: Edgar Mendez of Cruz Azul celebrates during the third round match between Cruz Azul and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Ten-man Cruz Azul held on for a 2-2 tie against Atlas in Wednesday night Copa MX action while Tijuana picked apart Toluca. Elsewhere, Tigres showed its traditional disinterest in Cup games and the Chivas continued their listless play as both teams settled for scoreless draws.

Cruz Azul 2, Atlas 2

With newly appointed team executive Rafa Márquez watching from an Estadio Azteca luxury box, Atlas scrambled back from a 2-0 deficit and almost came away with a win in Group 6 action.

Cementero youngster Misael Domínguez was ejected just before the half hour mark for an ill-advised challenge, but, 7 minutes later, Cruz Azul had scored twice thanks to Roberto Alvarado.

Alvarado collected a long pass in the left corner and zig-zagged past two defenders to create just enough room for a left-footed cross that found Milton Caraglio lurking just above the penalty spot. The tall striker neatly headed home inside the back post and Cruz Azul was up one only two minutes after Domínguez’s dismissal.

Five minutes later, Rafa Baca found Alvarado streaking into the left side of the box. The 19-year-old stopped on a dime, cut in to his right and fired past goalie Jonathan Estrada for a 2-0 lead.

Atlas appeared beaten but found a lifeline just before halftime. Ricky Álvarez filtered a pass to Raúl Rivero as he cut between defenders Julio César Domínguez and Igor Lichnovsky. Rivero ripped a one-timer that goalie Guillermo Allison misplayed and the Zorros had narrowed the deficit just before the halftime whistle.

The goal sparked an Atlas resurgence and the Zorros buzzed around the Cementeros’ penalty box during most of the second half, assisted in part by the reluctance of Cruz Azul forwards to track back and help out.

Rivero found the equalizer in minute 76, again helped out by goalie Allison. (This game makes clear that if starting Cementero keeper Jesús Corona goes down with injury, Cruz Azul is doomed.) Rivero stood under a floated cross at the back post and headed toward net and Allison failed to react, fumbling a catch while standing inside the net.

Atlas came close to finding the winner, but were not able to gift Rafa Márquez with a win. The Zorros are in last place in Group 6 with 1 point, Zacatepec is in second with 3 and Cruz Azul tops the group with 4.

Tijuana 2, Toluca 0

The Xolos again proved that they are among the most exciting teams to watch in Liga MX, skittering around their new turf field with quick passes and an emphasis on vertical attacks.

More from Viva Liga MX

Tijuana fans had barely settled into their seats when their beloved club got on the scoreboard. Juan Chávez rounded out a swift tic-tac-toe approach by escaping down the left flank and his cross flew past defender Carlos Calvo to Erick “El Cubo” Torres who trapped and slotted home before keeper Alfredo Talavera could get back across the goal.

Talavera then spent the next 20 minutes or so making magical saves and diving at shots whizzing by his posts. In minute 26, Diego González missed a golden opportunity to extend the lead from right in front of the goalmouth when a pass caught him on the wrong foot and he could not redirect the ball.

In minute 57, Toluca was awarded a penalty but Alexis Canelo sprayed the spot kick wide right. Twenty minutes later, Calvo got his forehead on a free kick but the shot bounced harmlessly off the crossbar, denying Toluca the equalizer.

Just seconds later, Miller Bolaños was the recipient of good luck to salt the game away for the Xolos. The Ecuadorian striker tried to filter a pass to the right of goal, Diego Gallegos blocked the pass but Bolaños chased down the rebound inside the box, eluded Héctor Acosta’s tackle and banged it home from 10 meters for the 2-0 lead.

Toluca is in last place with 0 points in Group 2, while Tijuana and Juárez are on top with 4 points apiece.

Tigres 0, Cafateleros 0

The powerful Tigres once again reflected coach Tuca Ferretti’s “I don’t care” attitude about the Copa with a wholly uninspired performance against second-division Tapachula.

Tuca lined up only two starters and no other starters were even on the bench. The Cafateleros gamely tried to break down the Tigres’ conservative tactical alignment but could not do so.

It’s hard to quibble with Tuca’s approach to the Cup since he has guided the Tigres to the league finals in five of the past eight seasons, winning three titles.

Atlético San Luis leads Group 9 with 4 points, followed by Tapachula with 2 and the Tigres at the bottom with 1 point.

Oaxaca 0, Guadalajara 0

The second-division Alebrijes held their own against the Chivas in a nearly sold-out Estadio Tec de Oaxaca, keeping struggling Guadalajara off the scoresheet to the delight of their home fans.

Oaxaca looked confident, flowing forward with the ball and pressing aggressively when the Chivas had possession. Striker Jerónimo Amione was a constant nuisance, forcing a fingertip save from Chivas goalie Miguel Jiménez in minute 6.

Hot. Santos coach resigns. light

Guadalajara’s best chance came in minute 63 when midfielder Edson Torres lifted a shot over the goalie and off the top of the crossbar.

The Chivas lead Group 8 with 4 points, Morelia is next with 3 and Oaxaca has 1.