América and Morelia clinched spots in the Copa MX knockout stages, joining first division FC Juárez who is in line for the top overall seed.
Matchday 5 of the Copa MX provided plenty of fireworks as 18 goals were scored in the four Tuesday night contests. Five more Cup matches take place on Wednesday night.
América took advantage of some kind refereeing to ease past Necaxa 3-1 and clinch the top spot in Group 4. Roger Martínez scored two splendid goals in the second half and new acquisition Nico Benedetti made his Aguilas debut.
Although Necaxa can’t make the claim that they were robbed, they did suffer from a double standard applied by ref Mario Humberto Vargas. Physical contact by a Necaxa defender resulted in a foul call virtually every time, while América defenders were allowed significant more leeway.
América defender Bruno Valdez also escaped a red card after he face-raked Rodrigo Contreras with his right boot, but the ref missed the call, awarding a throw-in to the Aguilas instead. Then with the score 2-1 in the second half, Jorge Sánchez shoved Necaxa’s Kevin Mercado inside the box for a clear penalty and again not even a foul call.
Necaxa hosts Atlético de San Luis next week and must win if it hopes to reach the final 16.
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Morelia 2, UAEM Potros 1
In Morelia, the Monarcas held off second division UAEM Potros to claim first place in Group 6. The Monarcas now have 9 points from three games and could move to 12 points – and a claim on the top seed – with a win next week at Correcaminos.
Ray Sandoval (minute 3) and Irven Ávila (31’) scored first-half goals and basically coasted the rest of the game until Potros striker Dante Osorio poked in a goal in minute 90+3.
Leones Negros 2, Atlas 4
Facundo Barceló scored a brace to help Atlas avenge its earlier loss to the Leones Negros in a Mini Clásico Tapatío. Atlas won the game at Estadio Jalisco 4-2 as the host Leones Negros saw two men sent off with red cards.
Daniel García scored first for the Black Lions but Jesús Gómez equalized four minutes later. Barceló scored his first just before the half to knot the score again after a Roberto Juárez strike had restored the lead for the home team. Barceló put Atlas ahead in minute 63 and Jefferson Duque clinched it for the Zorros in minute 83.
The two Guadalajara-based teams squared off in an earlier group match on Jan. 22 and the Leones Negros came away with the 3 points then after a 2-1 win.
This result means UNAM can clinch first place with a tie at home against the Leones Negros next week.
Puebla 3, Tampico Madero 2
In Group 2, Matías Alustiza recorded a hat trick for Puebla and the Camoteros defeated first division Tampico Madero. FC Juárez had already clinched the top spot by winning its first three group games. The Bravos can stake their claim to the top overall seed by beating Puebla at home next week.