Liga MX: Refs spoil opening games in Week 3

Ref Adonai Escobedo,. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Ref Adonai Escobedo,. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Puebla and Guadalajara played to a 1-1 draw, while Santos continued its perfect start to the season.

Matchday 3  in the Liga MX got off to an inauspicious start with two games that were nearly ruined by poor refereeing.

In the first match in Puebla, ref Marco Antonio Ortiz spent a good bit of the game winning over to the video replay booth and appeared to over-react on one foul, ejecting a Puebla player. It could be argued that the red card cost Puebla a win since they were controlling the match.

In the nightcap in Guadalajara, ref Adonai Escobedo seemed to be out of his league, allowing some rough play early that could have gotten out of hand, then showing a lack of expertise with the rules. The ref’s ineptitude did not affect the outcome though it did cost Santos their third straight shut-out.

Atlas 1, Santos 2

Winger Brian Lozano scored twice and Santos overcame an absolutely terrible performance by ref Escobedo. With the win, the Guerreros remain at the top of the table with 9 points from three games and Lozano leads the league with 4 goals.

Santos was by far the better team for most of the game, but they suffered from a variety of missed calls. It would not be a surprise if Escobedo is suspended for a week from calling games.

Lozano was a whirling dervish in the first half and he gave the Atlas defense fits. In minute 15, he charged Atlas defender Diego Barbosa and blocked his attempted clearance, nodded it forward and one-timed a blast off the bounce that zipped past Zorros keeper Camilo Vargas.

Liga MX Matchday 3
Brian Lozano of Santos celebrates the first of his two goals against Atlas. (Photo: ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images) /

In minute 38, Lozano cut across the top of the box and fired a shot that Vargas palmed aside and 2 minutes later Lozano fed Adrián Lozano (no relation) as he broke free into the center of the box but he took too long to settle the ball and his shot was stuffed.

Santos exerted tremendous pressure on Atlas especially as the Zorros looked for outlet passes. Fernando Gorriarán and Ulises Rivas intercepted a ton of passes, but Atlas still managed to create scoring chances, especially through Andrés Andrade.

Jonathan Orozco made two nice saves – a high shot by Andrade and a header off the rebound – just before halftime to preserve the lead for Santos.

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Santos was denied a clear penalty when Osvaldo Martínez charged into Gorriarán’s back on a high ball right in front of Escobedo who ignored the obvious foul. The video assistant referee alerted the ref, but even after looking at the replay he declined to make the call.

Then Santos got a bit sloppy and wasted scoring chances by opting for one-on-one plays and overdribbling. The visitors could have easily been leading by 4-0 before the dramatic finish.

On yet another breakaway, Lozano fired a laser that Vargas blocked and two Santos players took hacks at the loose ball before Lozano pounced and fired it home for a 2-0 lead in minute 86.

In minute 90, VAR buzzed down to Escobedo to look at a potential foul on Santos defender Matheus Doria which did not appear to deserve a penalty. The replay was not conclusive and it looked like Doria might have deflected the ball before making contact with the Atlas player.

Escobedo pointed to the spot and Martínez converted to cut the deficit to 2-1. In the dying seconds, an Orozco punt hit the Spidercam and Escobedo did not notice. One of his assistants was madly waving his flag to get the ref’s attention and then when Escobedo went for the restart, he erroneously gave the ball to Atlas.

Fortunately the final whistle blew without further mayhem.

Puebla 1, Guadalajara 1

The Chivas got an 8th-minute penalty then took the night off in a game dominated by visits to the video review booth.

Puebla took control of the match shortly after falling behind and spent most of the game flowing forward. The Camoteros took 21 shots (the Chivas took 4) and had Guadalajara on its heels.

Liga MX Week 3
Referee Marco Antonio Ortiz did not have a good game in Puebla on Friday night. (Photo by Juan Mejia/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

The hosts tied the match just before halftime, prompting one of the night’s highlights. Early on, Chivas defender Antonio Briseño cut out a cross for a corner kick and started celebrating liked he’d scored a goal, pumping his arms and screaming “Vamos!” Puebla captain Daniel Arriola immediately ran to Briseño and imitated his celebration in his face.

Puebla appeared to go ahead in minute 60, when Lucas Cavallini finished a play he had started but ref Marco Antonio Ortiz was summoned to the video booth. The ref annulled the goal and ejected Cavallini for a stamp on Eduardo López that probably only deserved a yellow. Puebla players were livid.

The Camoteros were a man down for the next 10 minutes, yet continued to create scoring opportunities. In minute 72, Chivas left back Miguel Ponce was shown a second yellow card and the two teams were even again.

As the minutes wound down, Chivas goalie José Antonio Rodríguez made three wonderful saves to preserve the tie.