Zorros outfox Morelia; Veracruz battles Tuzos to draw

Gabriel Achilier of Morelia tackles the ball away from Ian Torres of Atlas during their Matchday 2 game in Morelia. (Photo by Angel Castillo/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Gabriel Achilier of Morelia tackles the ball away from Ian Torres of Atlas during their Matchday 2 game in Morelia. (Photo by Angel Castillo/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Atlas snared a 1-0 victory for the second week in a row, while Veracruz kicked off its season with a 3-3 home draw against Pachuca.

Relegation troubled Atlas helped its cause with another slim win and now has 6 points from two games, as Jesús Isijara popped home a header off an Osvaldo Martínez cross in minute 74 to give the Zorros a 1-0 win over Morelia.

The host Monarcas had the better of the first half, creating multiple scoring chances while keeping Atlas from getting good looks at goal. Not much changed in the second half as Morelia flowed forward smoothly but Atlas keeper Camilo Vargas was up to the task, making 5 saves on the night and alertly intercepting 4 crosses.

In minute 74, sub Andrés Andrade sent a pass across the box just behind two Atlas teammates who made runs in front of goal. Osvaldo Martínez chased down the pass at the touch line and lofted a soft, high cross above the goal mouth to the far post where Isijara nodded home before goalie Sebastián Sosa could race to cover his back side.

Atlas wins, Veracruz ties Pachuca
Atlas goalie Camilo Vargas stops a penalty shot to preserve his team’s 1-0 lead. (Photo by Angel Castillo/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Morelia had a chance to tie the game 8 minutes later after defender Jesús Angulo made a rash tackle in the box. Monarcas newcomer Lucas Villafañez stepped up and fired a low shot to the right of Vargas, but the keeper got his arm and the ball and preserved his shutout.

The Monarcas dominated the stats page, outshooting Atlas 21 to 3, but fell to 0-0-2 on the season.

Tiburones show life in season opener

After a bye last week, Veracruz was the last Liga MX team to open its Apertura 2019 schedule and the Tiburones shocked visiting Pachuca by fighting back for a 3-3 tie.

The Tuzos defeated Veracruz 9-2 last season and appeared ready for another rout when Franco Jara spun defender Lampros Gómez around and zipped a shot past Sebastián Jurado for a 1-0 lead before the 10-minutes mark.

Veracruz 3, Pahuca 3
Colin Kazim-Richards of celebrates after scoring against Pachuca. (Photo by Felix Cuneo/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Tiburones striker Colin Kazim-Richards had other ideas, however, and the English-born striker contributed a goal and an assist to put Veracruz ahead before the half. In minute 15, Kazim-Richards redirected a cross in the box into the path of the onrushing Iván Santillan who powered home a shot from 12 meters.

Twenty-two minutes later, Kazim-Richards scored with a wonderful individual effort. He chested down a pass from Jesús Paganoni, trapped it, spun and fired into the net from close range.

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After taking the early lead, Pachuca appeared to momentarily lose interest in the match and their defense was leaky, and Veracruz took advantage.

Still, Víctor Guzmán and Jonathan Copete scored early in the second half (Guzmán assisted on Copete’s goal), Pachuca was back in the lead 3-2. But once again the Tuzos defense made a mistake, failing to mark Diego Chávez off a corner kick and Chávez headed into the netting to knot things up in minute 69.

Both teams had decent chances to win the match, but erratic shooting condemned the game to a draw.

Pachuca’s playoff hopes took an early-season blow as the Tuzos now only have 1 point through 2 matches. Veracruz now has more points than they had all last season when they finished with 0 points. Though coach Enrique Meza will be pleased with the Tiburones’ workrate and offensive production, the home team is still setting records for futility. Veracruz now has gone 28 consecutive league matches without a win.