Road teams steal wins in Friday night Liga MX double-header.
Surprise, surprise! Atlas and Necaxa are tied for first place after each won road games on Friday night as Matchday 5 continues through the weekend. For Necaxa, they have the additional advantage of a game in hand after their Week 1 tilt against América was postponed until March.
Atlas kicked off the weekend by earning a 2-1 victory at Morelia, climbing to 10 points through 5 games, even with Monterrey who plays UNAM on Sunday with the opportunity to reclaim the top spot.
Jesús Isijara put the Zorros up 1-0 just past the hour mark, finishing off a nifty play that started wide left with captain Juan Pablo Vigón who cut across the top of the box then slid a pass square to Osvaldo Martínez. “Osvaldito” one-touched a back-heel into the right side of the box and Isijara cut through and fired a right-footer that deflected off the foot of defender Emanuel Loeschbor, banged off the near post and into the net.
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Morelia – in 14th place with 4 points now – fought back, getting their own fortuitous deflection to equalize in minute 80. Rodrigo Vilchis passed to Irven Ávila at the top of the box, Ávila dribbled left into the box and fired a low, left-footer that goalie José Hernández got his palm to, but he deflected the shot right onto the feet of Gastón Lezcano who knocked the ball into the net with his right shin.
Five minutes later, Facundo Barceló (pictured at top) recorded the game-winner for Atlas off a lovely two-man play that beat five defenders. Edgar Zaldívar got wide right and drew two defenders with him as Barceló found space between two Monarcas. Zaldívar made a crisp cutback pass, Barceló trapped and quickly fired inside the far post and the Zorros had a 2-1 lead.
Atlas deserved the win, playing solid on both offense and defense while establishing control by keeping 59% possession. The Zorros now have 10 goals through 5 games. Last season, Atlas scored only 11 goals total (in 17 games).
Rayos rout Puebla
Brian Fernández scored twice as Necaxa exploded for 4 goals on 9 shots, moving to 10 points through 4 matches and a first-place tie with Monterrey and Atlas (in second as a result of goal differential).
Vladimir Loroña got Puebla on the scoreboard first when a long throw-in bounced into the box and the 20-year-old right back was able to stick out his right foot and knock the loose ball past Rayos goalie Hugo González.
Ángel Sepúlveda knotted the score at 1 five minutes later when he got behind his marker at the back post and headed home a long cross from right back Carlos Guzmán.
Fernández put Necaxa ahead in minute 38 when defender Ventura Alvarado sent a long pass behind the Puebla defense from deep in Rayos territory. Fernández started from inside his own half, raced past his marker and dribbled the ball, knocking it ahead into the box with one touch and when Puebla keeper Nicolás Vikonis failed to come out to shut down the angle, the 24-year-old Argentine chipped the ball over the goalie and into the short side of the net.
Four minutes after halftime, Fernández scored again, this time off a wonderful assist from strike partner Eduardo Herrera. Guzmán sent a long ball into the box toward Herrera and he chested the ball down forward right into the path of the onrushing Fernández who simply drilled a shot with the outside of his right foot, curling it around Vikonis to make it 3-1.
Puebla’s frustrations became more apparent and the Camoteros’ leading scorer Lucas Cavallini was shown a red-card for shoving his arm into the face of Necaxa midfielder Fernando González. Facundo Castro closed out the scoring for the Rayos a few seconds later.
Puebla is now 0-2-2 at home this year (including a 2-1 loss to second division Juárez in a Copa MX match) and coach Enrique Meza might need to start worrying about his job.