Toluca made a statement on opening night in Liga MX while Cruz Azul failed to impress as the Clausura 2019 season kicked off.
Enrique Triverio netted a hat trick for Toluca and the Diablos Rojos announced their intention to return to the Liga MX playoffs with an impressive road win in Morelia. The Argentine striker scored with his right foot, his left foot and with a header after the Monarcas had taken an early lead.
Toluca played off the counter and demonstrated greater discipline than they showed last season, committing just 11 fouls. Despite only 40% possession, the Diablos Rojos outshot Morelia 22-13 and were a lot closer to scoring their fourth goal than the Monarcas were to narrowing the gap. Alexis Canelo hit the crossbar for Toluca in minute 86, only moments after Morelia’s Miguel Sansores had drilled the post with a header.
Sansores made the play that gave Morelia its lead in minute 16. The striker hustled onto a Edison Flores cross but his volley was blocked by Toluca keeper Alfredo Talavera. While prone, Flores knocked the loose ball back to Ray Sandoval who blasted home from 8 meters.
Triverio answered 3 minutes later off a scramble following a free kick. Just before halftime, the Morelia defense fell asleep and Jorge Valadez botched a headed clearance. The ball fell to Triverio at the back post and his left-footer was true to give the Diablos Rojos a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.
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If the veteran forward stays healthy and productive, Toluca won’t miss Alexis Vega, the 21-year-old striker that Diablos management sold to the Chivas. Triverio scored 22 goals in 56 games with Toluca from 2017-2017. He returned to the Diablos last season but only scored twice as he struggled to maintain fitness.
Puebla 1, Cruz Azul 1
Puebla managed to wrest a point from Cruz Azul, holding the visiting Cementeros to a 1-1 draw as the Camoteros make an early bid to avoid relegation concerns this season.
Lucas Cavallini scored from the penalty spot in minute 29, only 4 minutes after Elías Hernández had opened the scoring with a right-footed blast from 31 meters.
Cruz Azul looked sloppy and unimaginative in its first game since losing the Final to América less than 3 weeks ago.
Cementeros coach Pedro Caixinha opted to go with a 2-man attack up front, but did not start new signing Jona Rodríguez. Instead, Martín Cauteruccio and Edgar Méndez got the call and neither played very well. Rodríguez and Milton Caraglio were subbed in with 25 minutes to go, but failed to create any clear scoring chances.
Orbelín Pineda (pictured at top) was relatively unproductive in his debut with Cruz Azul, but the Cementeros appeared mechanical and impatient at times on offense, frequently overlooking Pineda in midfield and relying on long passes that failed to create scoring chances.
Cruz Azul also showed some fatigue, resorting to fouls to slow down Puebla breakouts.
Puebla visits Toluca next week, while Cruz Azul will host Guadalajara.