Cruz Azul, Chivas play a snoozer of a draw

Chivas coach Tomas Boy, left, and Cruz Azul coach Pedro Caixinha. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Chivas coach Tomas Boy, left, and Cruz Azul coach Pedro Caixinha. (Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Cruz Azul finishes tough week with a home draw against Tomas Boy and the Chivas.

The Chivas arrived in Mexico City with time on their hands since they had a bye for Matchday 7, meaning they did not play midweek as did the rest of the Liga MX teams. Management had time to re-evaluate things, re-organize and take on Cruz Azul with a fresh squad.

Coach Tomas Boy is on the hot seat and he juggled his starting line-up for Saturday night’s contest. Central defender Oswaldo Alanis was out for a youngster named Tiba Sepulveda. Raul Gudiño was in goal for Antonio Rodriguez and, most notably, forward Alexis Vega started for aging veteran Oribe Peralta.

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Cruz Azul played in Tijuana on Wednesday and it didn’t end well. They had opportunities, but didn’t capitalize, and a red card in minute 55 strained their. Central defender Pablo Aguilar was a lone bright spot. Elias Hernandez looked flat, “Piojo” Alvarado didn’t get many touches, and goalie Jesus Corona looked a shell of his former self. It all added up to a 3-2 loss thanks to a Xolos goal in minute 90+3.

The Cementeros took the field against the Chivas looking tired, especially coach Pedro Caixinha, who might not keep his job much longer.

First-half lapse for Chivas

In all honesty, this game left much to be desired. Both coaches might be looking for jobs soon since both teams continue to underachieve.

Chivas at Cruz Azul
Isaac Brizuela of Guadalajara chases Orbelin Pineda at Estadio Azteca during their 1-1 draw on Saturday night. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP / Getty Images) /

The Chivas enjoyed a majority of possession in the first half, with Caixinha comfortable playing on the counter. The Cementeros were given an opportunity early, and they took advantage. Guadalajara was forward on a free kick when Cruz Azul broke out. Orbelin Pineda was sent free down the right flank on a 3-on-1 and when Jose Carlos Van Rankin moved to slow down Pineda, the latter chipped a perfect pass to Jonathan Rodriguez who volleyed home powerfully from inside the box to give the Cementeros a 1-0 lead in minute 11.

In minute 21, Alan Pulido made a great run into the right side of the box, shook two defenders by cutting back onto his left foot, but only got off a weak shot. Vega on the left wing was being held in check by Cruz Azul right back Jose Madueña. So coach Boy had Vega switch sides with Isaac Brizuela.

Chivas at Cruz Azul
Miguel Ponce celebrates after scoring the equalizer against Cruz Azul on a free kick. (Photo by Carlos Ramirez/Getty Images) /

Former Chivas star Pineda looked great in the first half. At one point, he dribbled past three defenders to start a fast break though nothing came of it. Still, it was beautiful. If only the Chivas had such talent on their team …

The game bogged down for much of the middle portion of the half, until Pulido was taken down outside the box in minute 41. Left back Miguel Ponce lined up the free kick and curled a perfect shot over the wall and into the upper right-hand corner. The score was tied 1-1 at the break.

Second half mostly dullsville

The visitors controlled the ball to open the second half and, in minute 56, the youngster Sepulveda got his head on a corner, grazing the outside of the left post. In the 60th minute, Rodriguez made a great run onto a pass into the box, cut left and fired a shot that Gudiño deflected over the crossbar. A few minutes later, Rodriguez dribbled 40 yards on the fly, racing into the box, but his shot was blocked by Sepulveda.

There was some controversy in minute 68. Cruz Azul defender Juan Carlos Escobar cut off Brizuela inside the box and shoved him over the touch line. The play went to video review, but no call.

The rest of the game, the Chivas launched wave after wave of attacks with Jesus Molina firing over the bar from close at one point. Cruz Azul basically played keepaway after that and the game ended in an unsatisfying draw.

Frankly, I don’t remember watching a game more worthy of a tie. It was the definition of average. This game should have been played on a Monday in the middle of the day. Before the match, Caixinha had said he considered Cruz Azul-Guadalajara to be a classic. In this case, a classic bore.