Chivas in 1st place; Cementeros, Pumas in big trouble

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JANUARY 12: Rolando Cisneros of Chivas celebrates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 2nd round match between Cruz Azul and Chivas as part of the Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX at Azteca on January 12, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - JANUARY 12: Rolando Cisneros of Chivas celebrates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 2nd round match between Cruz Azul and Chivas as part of the Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX at Azteca on January 12, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Guadalajara shocked Cruz Azul in Estadio Azteca while the Pumas lost at Necaxa in a busy Saturday of Liga MX action.

Ronaldo Cisneros scored on a lovely, sliding tap-in just 11 minutes from time and the Chivas handed Cruz Azul its second straight loss at Estadio Azteca, sending last season’s top seed into 12th place.

Last season, the Cementeros boasted the league’s best defense and posted an 8-1-0 record at home to finish the regular season in first place. But in the Apertura 2018 Final, América defeated Cruz Azul 2-0 and the Chivas just handed the Cementeros a two-game home losing streak.

Cruz Azul looked sloppy and impatient. Roberto Alvarado was a turnover machine, while Iván Marcone’s substitute Javier Salas had numerous errant passes that sidetracked Cruz Azul possessions. Striker Martín Cauteruccio lacked proficiency and his starting spot should be considered a question mark after two straight listless performances. The Cementeros got only one shot on goal all game.

Chivas coach José Cardozo must be thrilled as his team now has three wins from three games in 2019. New striker Alexis Vega had another productive game though he did not get on the scoresheet. He presented for the ball well, tracked back to help the defense and worked well with strike partner Alan Pulido.

Cisneros – who returned to Guadalajara after spending last season on loan to Zacatepec – subbed in for Vega in minute 70 and celebrated his return to the Chivas fold with the game-winner. Isaac Brizeula got free on the left and chipped a cross into the box. Cisneros slipped behind Pablo Aguilar, lunged with his feet and tapped the ball past a fast-closing Jesús Corona to give Guadalajara the lead in minute 79.

The Chivas closed out the game despite some frantic moments in the closing seconds and with the result they move to the top of the table. Cruz Azul now has 1 point from 2 games and have plenty of questions to answer.

Necaxa 2, Pumas 1

The Rayos made their Clausura 2019 debut a winning one as Brian Fernández knocked home a cross from Pedro Campos just four minutes after UNAM had equalized. New Necaxa coach Memo Vazquez had the Rayos playing a much more vertical style and the players showed considerably more energy and effort than they showed down the stretch last season.

Fernández’s goal was confirmed by video instant replay after it was originally disallowed by the side judge who ruled offside. The replays clearly showed it was a bad call and the call was overturned by the video officials.

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Necaxa goalie Hugo González preserved the win with a diving save of a Felipe Mora header at full-time. Mora had beaten González to tie the score in minute 77 after Carlos Calderón scored the opener in his first game wearing a Necaxa shirt.

Monterrey 2, León 2

The Rayados squandered a 2-0 lead, giving up the equalizer on the final play of the match, after dominating large stretches of the game.

Dorlan Pabón, Avilés Hurtado and Jesús Gallardo took turns spraying shots over and around the goal posts as Monterrey moved into the offensive third with ease. The Rayados fired 20 shots in all, but only 6 were on goal.

Nico Sánchez scored both Monterrey goals, converting a penalty in minute 55 then scoring on a header from a free kick in minute 72.

León pulled one back just 2 minutes later when Vinicio Angulo chested down a cross, then slipped a shot under Monterrey goalie Marcelo Barovero from close range. Angulo joined León from the Sinaloa Dorados over the winter.

Defender Andrés Mosquera was awarded the winner in minute 90+4 in a mad goalmouth scramble. William Tesillo headed a cross back into the box and Mosquera volleyed the ball off the crossbar. It bounced back to him as he was going down to the ground and the ball appeared to deflect off Nico Sánchez’s foot as Mosquera lunged to hit it with his head as he lay prone on the ground. The ball trickled just over the goal line as Barovero crawled back to smother it. Video replay confirmed it was a goal.

Monterrey looked certain to build on its great start to the season after a 5-0 rout of Pachuca on Matchday 1. But the failure to put the game away cost the Rayados points at home. León now has two 2-2 draws and should be ecstatic since their two rivals were Tigres and Monterrey, both of whom are considered title defenders.

Pachuca 3, Querétaro 0

The Tuzos recovered from their 5-0 Week 1 loss to spank the Gallos Blancos in their home opener, scoring 3 goals after half time. Angelo Sagal and Franco Jara netted for Pachuca, while Miguel Samudio was credited with an own goal to close the books.

Pachuca dominated the match, getting off an amazing 28 shots, 9 of which were on target. They also completed 89% of their passes, allowing them to control the possession battle (63% to 37%). The punchless Gallos Blancos managed only 7 shots, just 1 on goal.

Tigres 3, Tijuana 0

André-Pierre Gignac and Edu Vargas scored brilliant goals late in the match after an own-goal by Tijuana defender Luis Fuentes had opened the scoring.

Gignaco dribbled from left to right across the top of the box before smoothly curling a shot over Xolos goalie Manuel Lajud into the far corner. Vargas one-timed a shot from the top of the box after a weak clearance following a corner kick.

New Tijuana coach Oscar Pareja now knows this could be a long season and the Xolos will have a serious relegation problem next season if they don’t turn things around quickly.