Liga MX: Cauteruccio lifts unbeaten Cruz Azul to 1-0 victory

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 22: Enrique Triverio of Toluca in action during the 6th round match between Cruz Azul and Toluca as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on August 22, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 22: Enrique Triverio of Toluca in action during the 6th round match between Cruz Azul and Toluca as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on August 22, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

One-third of the way through the Liga MX season and Cruz Azul remains unbeaten, Atlas has yet to win (or score), América is struggling on the road and the Chivas notched their first home victory since October.

Week 6 Liga MX games offered few attractive match-ups but Cruz Azul and Toluca produced an entertaining contest at Estadio Azteca, visiting Santos tied Tijuana at the buzzer and host León spanked suddenly punchless América.

All 18 teams have only a few days to lick their wounds as Week 7 kicks off with the Clásico Tapatío on Friday night.

Cruz Azul 1, Toluca 0

The Cementeros toughed out a narrow win over a scrappy Diablos Rojos team thanks to a first-half Martín Cauteruccio score and a well-coordinated defensive effort.

The Cruz Azul tandem of Pablo Aguilar and Julio César Domínguez were nearly flawless in front of keeper Jesús Corona (only forced to make 1 save), while Iván Marcone continued his sterling play patrolling the space in front of them.

Toluca effectively neutralized Elías Hernández (he had only one dangerous chance which he whistled just by the post late in the second half) and Roberto Alvarado, and controlled midfield for long stretches in the second half. William da Silva is settling into a playmaking role for the Diablos Rojos while captain Rubens Sambueza is out injured.

Cruz Azul earned the win when the opportunistic Cauteruccio pounced on a rebound in minute 35 and drilled the ball over Toluca goalie Alfredo Talavera before his defenders could react. Rafa Baca collected a header at the top of the box to Talavera’s left, reversed out of the box and fired a left-footer from 22 meters that short-hopped the goalie and bounced off his chest. Caute-gol was first to the ball and that was that.

Next up for Cruz Azul is a trip to defending champion Santos in a must-see game.

León 2, América 0

Mauro Boselli scored in each half to lead the Esmeraldas to an upset win over road-weary América. He has tallied 12 goals against América, his most against any team.

The Águilas are now 1-1-2 as visitors and four of their last five games (including Copa MX) have been away from home.

Boselli opened the scoring at the 10-minute mark, heading home inside the back post of a nicely lofted centering pass from Fernando Navarro as defender Edson Álvarez inexplicably drifted away from him as León worked the ball into the box.

América only managed 2 shots on goal and looked disjointed on defense, committing 20 fouls (and earning 4 yellow cards in the process), including Bruno Váldez’s reckless foul in the box in minute 64 that Boselli converted from the penalty spot.

Tijuana 2, Santos 2

All four goals came in the second half as both clubs raced up and down the pitch at Estadio Agua Caliente.

Brian Lozano scored off a nifty give-and-go with Julio Furch in minute 48. Furch one-timed a touch pass into Lozano’s path and the Uruguayan ripped a shot past Miguel Lajud to open the scoring.

Diego González equalized 21 minutes later, tapping home from a scrum in front of goal as Santos frantically tried to clear the zone. Xolos second-half sub Erick Castillo looked to have converted the winner in minute 87 when he blasted a low shot inside the far post from a sharp angle to the left of goalie Carlos Acevedo.

Furch spoiled Tijuana’s party three minutes later, heading home from in close  after wriggling free at the back post.

Tigres 4, Veracruz 0

A visit from a team in turmoil was just what the doctor ordered for the under-achieving Tigres who showed no mercy toward Veracruz. The home team registered 20 shots, 11 on goal while Veracruz only mustered 4 shots, none on goal.

Javier Aquino returned from a one-game red-card suspension to open the scoring in minute 22 after which André-Pierre Gignac hit a brace. Edu Vargas closed the book with a goal in injury time.

Lobos BUAP 1, Monterrey 2

The Rayados moved into second place with their hard-fought win over the luckless Lobos. The game was evenly matched (Monterrey seems to play just well-enough to win despite their wealth of talented players on the roster) and both teams were quite efficient on offense with 12 shots on goal between the two teams.

Celso Ortiz opened the scoring in minute 12 when his low shot from the top of the box was deflected up and over goalie Antonio Rodríguez by a sliding José Joaquín Esquivel. Rodríguez made six big saves on the night, several of the spectacular variety.

New import Colin Kazim recorded his first goal in Liga MX in minute 71, heading home a rebound of a point-blank shot from Omar Tejeda that Monterrey keeper Marcelo Barovero blocked with his knee, popping it up into the air to Kazim just 8 meters out. Barovero had denied Kazim only minutes before when he spilled a long rebound from a Bryan Rabello shot but managed to get a glove on the put back effort.

Nico Sánchez knocked home the game-winner in injury time, rising up between two markers just outside the goalie box and heading home just before the final whistle.


Guadalajara 1, Necaxa 0

The Chivas won their first home game since Oct. 11, making a questionable first-half penalty stand up. Still, throughout the rest of the game the home team appeared more likely to get their second goal before Necaxa scored.

Ángel Zaldívar converted the penalty in minute 35 and Guadalajara continued to test Rayos goalie Hugo González who made five saves on the night.

Necaxa only managed two shots on goal and neither was a tough save for Miguel Jiménez.

UNAM 0, Querétaro 1

The Pumas continued their slump, sinking in the standings from first to sixth on the back of two straight losses as their offense has shot blanks. After scoring 10 goals in the first three games of the season, the Pumas have been shut out in the past three.

Querétaro got on the board in minute 14 when 17-year-old Marcel Ruiz took a clever drop pass from Camilo Sanvezzo to get in alone on goalie Alfredo Saldívar, then slotted home coolly for his first career goal.

Less than 15 minutes later, Saldívar saved a penalty kick to keep UNAM in the game and came up with another four saves in a sparkling performance for the 28-year-old keeper.

The bigger concern for UNAM was the second-half ankle injury suffered by Pablo Barrera. The Pumas captain limped off after a hard tackle and his status for Saturday’s Clásico Capitalino against América is in doubt.


Puebla 2, Atlas 0

Puebla strolled to an easy win over the hapless Zorros despite not playing well. Of course, since Atlas has yet to score a goal this season, just playing well enough to scrape out a goal is enough to defeat the last-place team.

The Camoteros fashioned their first approach in minute 21 and it resulted in an Alejandro Chumacero goal. Diego Cruz escaped down the right flank then filtered a pass into the box where Chumacero ran on to it and redirected the ball toward the far post and past a helpless Pepe Hernández

Daniel Arreola completed the scoring with a penalty kick in minute 70.

Morelia 1, Pachuca 1

Morelia stayed unbeaten at home but will be disappointed at only picking up 1 point even though they were outplayed by the visiting Tuzos.

Franco Jara hit the crossbar in minute 10 for Pachuca, one of 28 shots the Tuzos got off against the Monarcas defense.

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Morelia went up 1-0 against the run of play when Irven Ávila headed home from close range in minute 37. The Pachuca defense failed to properly execute an offside trap as Carlos Guzmán curled in a centering pass and Ávila was completely unmolested as he rippled the netting.

Víctor Guzmán got the equalizer with less than 15 minutes remaining when he slipped in behind the defense to head home, giving Pachuca a well-deserved draw.