Matchday 4 kicked off with a scrappy win in Veracruz for Puebla, while Atlas cruised to victory against Lobos.
Puebla knocked Veracruz closer to relegation with a 1-0 win in the port city that gave the Camoteros a bit more breathing room as they seek to avoid demotion. On the opposite side of the country, two other relegation-threatened sides did battle as Atlas defeated Lobos BUAP 3-1 in Estadio Jalisco.
Veracruz 0, Puebla 1
Lucas Cavallini knocked home the winner in minute 38 after earlier missing a penalty kick and the goal stood up for Puebla.
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Veracruz midfielder Rodrigo López picked up a red card in minute 48 for stamping on Puebla defender “Chepe” Guerrero and it appeared that the rout might be on. But the Tiburones actually played better with 10 men and came close to equalizing on two occasions as Puebla struggled to control the match. Puebla keeper Nicolás Vikonis made 5 saves to preserve the lead and earn his first clean sheet of the season.
Veracruz defender Luis Caicedo knocked down Puebla’s Cristián Tabó inside the box and the ref correctly pointed to the spot. Cavallini wasted the chance to take the lead in minute 20, however, with a terrible shot. He hesitantly walked up to the ball, leaped in the air and stubbed a left-footer that banged off the right post as Tiburones keeper Sebastián Jurado dived to guard the other post.
Puebla’s Argentine striker made up for the error when he rose to meet a beauty of a centering pass from Omar Fernández and headed home in minute 38. Veracruz looked for the tie before the halftime whistle, but the highlight turned out to be the appearance of an opossum who scampered onto the field during play. The little fellow was removed during the break.
Shortly after the second half whistle, López went for a tackle as Puebla’s Guerrero moved the ball out of his half and his attempt to stop him saw him instead jam his cleats into Guerrero’s knee. From then on, Puebla seemed to be on its heels, perhaps a bit overconfident that the game was in the bag, but Vikonis was up to the task between the pipes.
The result gives Puebla a 24-point cushion in the relegations standings, practically assuring that the Tiburones will face demotion at the end of the season. However, reports coming out of Veracruz indicate that ownership is already preparing to stockpile the 120 million pesos necessary to retain its spot in the first division. This could explain why Robert Siboldi – the coach who led Santos to the Clausura 2018 title last May – accepted the Veracruz job. He knew that the Tiburones would remain in Liga MX regardless of the results of this season.
Atlas 3, Lobos BUAP 1
Anderson Santamaría, Facundo Barceló and Clifford Aboagye scored for the Zorros who claimed their first home win of the Clausura 2019. Bryan Rabello scored for Lobos just 4 minutes from time to prevent the shutout.
The fans in Estadio Jalisco saw their team launch 27 shots – 10 on target – in an impressive offensive performance that moved the Zorros temporarily into third place in the standings pending this weekend’s results.
Both teams appear to have risen above relegation concerns with solid starts to the Clausura 2019 campaign. Lobos have 2 wins already, as do the Zorros and they are 5th and 4th, respectively, in the demotion standings.