Tigres sent Veracruz further down the relegation standings while Atlas looked horrid in home loss to Puebla.
The Tigres woke up this morning in first place with only a few hours to savor it as crosstown rival Monterrey will have the opportunity to snatch it back with a win over visiting Lobos BUAP.
At the Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente in Veracruz, the Tigres dominated the match against the sagging Tiburones, but could not solve the early season sensation, Veracruz goalie Sebastián Jurado. On Friday night, the 21-year-old goalie made 7 saves, finally running out of answers in minute 87 when Francisco Venegas scored the first of his two goals for the win.
Jurado’s performance against the Tigres comes on the heels of his spectacular show last week against the Chivas, when he denied Guadalajara 6 times, several from point-blank range.
He did get some help from video assistant replay in minute 74 after “Chaka” Rodríguez scored with a low shot from in close. But “Chaka” used his right arm to control the through pass and the goal was disallowed.
But a Tigres victory seemed inevitable. The visitors got off 24 shots in all, while Veracruz managed only 2 shots, none of which were on net. With 3 minutes remaining, Enner Valencia got wide right and lofted a cross to the back post where André-Pierre Gignac got his head to it. Jurado parried the shot and as it rolled down the end line Tigres left back Venegas swooped in a rifled a shot off the underside of the crossbar at the far post.
Jurado came far off his line to deny Valencia the second goal a minute later, but was not so lucky as time expired.
Gignac passed wide to Venegas and the 20-year-old fullback smacked a low cross that was blocked by his marker, but came right back to the left foot of Venegas. Jurado had moved thinking the cross was coming and as he scrambled to get back in position, Venegas dribbled deeper then crisply thumped a low shot on net. Jurado anticipated a second cross and the ball wrong-footed him and rolled into the net behind him.
The result gives the Tigres 13 points from s 4-1-1 record (10 goals for, 4 goals against). They are 2 points clear of Monterrey who host Lobos BUAP Saturday afternoon.
Not only is Veracruz still winless but they have yet to score a goal this season. They are in 17th place with 2 points from a 0-2-4 record (0 goals, 6 goals against).
Atlas 1, Puebla 2
The host Zorros scored early and threatened to increase their lead through the game’s first 20 minutes, but then collapsed, staging their worst game of the season. And Atlas’ errors came back to haunt them as Puebla accepted the gifted goal that tied the score before halftime, then won the game off a minute 89 corner kick.
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Puebla’s new coach, José Luis Sánchez Solá “Chelis”, opted not to manage the team since he had not yet conducted a practice, so interim coach Octavio Becerril directed the Camoteros. And his patience and tactical decisions paid off with a big road win.
Atlas took the lead off a corner kick in minute 15 when Jesús Isijara was unmarked on the back side. The cross floated over the scrum in the middle of the box allowing Isijara to calmly trap, spot and fire, creasing the top of the net.
For a few more minutes he Zorros found some space in the offensive third as Puebla sought to recover from the setback. Atlas dominated possession, but was getting increasingly sloppy with their passing and frequently dribbling into turnovers.
In minute 38, US defender Omar González went for a steal while pressing at the midfield center stripe. Christián Tabó shielded him from the ball then raced unmolested down the right flank, turned into the box, and fired a low shot that got under Atlas goalie José Hernández, who was slow to react and failed to cut down the angle well. Even so, the shot was eminently stoppable.
The game bogged down into a game of hot potato, Atlas misfiring often and Puebla content to attempt counterattacks.
In minute 89, Puebla took a corner kick that forward Matías Alustiza got to near the front post. He flicked on and the ball caromed off the shoulder and arm of Atlas defender Anderson Santamaría and bounced into the netting near the back post.
The loss ruins a good start to the season for Atlas who came into the weekend in 4th place and now could fall as far as 7th. Puebla moved up to 8th place from 15th.