The Tiburones scored their first goal of the season and goalie Sebastián Jurado preserved a 1-1 tie against visiting Cruz Azul.
Veracruz had not scored a goal during its first 7 matches, but Colin Kazim-Richards soared over two defenders and withstood a clash with Cruz Azul goalie Jesús Corona to head home a cross from Brian Carrasco in minute 30. The fans in Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente stood and roared their approval.
The Cementeros did not react well to the deficit (they had not played well to that point either). Despite enjoying a possession advantage (61% on the game), Cruz Azul’s passing in the offensive third was sloppy. The Cementeros’ shooting accuracy was poor as well (28 shots, only 7 on target), and when they did find the net, Veracruz keeper Sebastián Jurado was there to make the save.
Coach Caixinha made two changes to open the second half in hopes of fixing Cruz Azul’s offensive woes, bringing in Edgar Méndez and Milton Caraglio to join Jonathan Rodríguez in attack. The trio gradually began to find scoring opportunities, particularly off free kicks and corner kicks.
Finally, in minute 73, Cruz Azul tied the score with a fluke own goal. Milton Caraglio fought to get free in the middle of the box on a corner kick, but his header was going wide when it struck the back of Fabricio’s leg and deflected into the net.
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The Cementeros kept up the pressure in search of the winner, but Jurado was up to the challenge, making two brilliant saves in the game’s final 15 minutes.
Veracruz earned its third tie of the season to go with 5 losses, but the highlight was the team’s first goal of the season. Cruz Azul now sits at 2-3-3, with only 6 goals from 8 games. The Cementeros are in 13th place with 9 points, but Puebla and Toluca could slip past them with wins this weekend.
General manager Ricardo Peláez was in Veracruz for the match. No doubt, he is not pleased with the outcome, but we’ll have to wait and see if a tie away from home is enough to save Caixinha’s job for now.
Atlas 0, Tigres 1
The Tigres pulled out a key road victory when André-Pierre Gignac converted a penalty in injury time.
Atlas enjoyed the better of play during the first quarter-hour, forcing Tigres goalie Nahuel Guzmán to be alert and the Argentine responded with two fine saves.
But the Zorros could not sustain any momentum and spent the rest of the match spraying passes and chasing the Tigres around the pitch. Atlas could manage only 32% possession and this was primarily due to their 70% passing accuracy rate.
The Tigres were too patient with the ball, at times appearing to be involved in a game of keep-away. Atlas outshot the Tigres 17-11 and doubled their shots on target (8 to 4).
As the clock ticked to 90, fullback Irving Zurita tugged on Luis Quiñones’ jersey as the Colombian cut toward the middle of the box, yanking him off-balance right in front of the referee who pointed to the spot immediately.
Gignac knocked home his 6th goal of the season, momentarily sending the Tigres into first place pending the outcome of Monterrey’s match against Puebla on Saturday night.