It took the entire 90 minutes, but the Chivas came out on top against crosstown rivals Atlas.
Heading into the Clasico Tapatio, Guadalajara was in desperate need of a win. The Chivas had last won on Aug. 10 when they defeated Atletico San Luis 3-0.
Their crosstown rivals Atlas arrived at Estadio Akron on a high after beating America 3-0 just before the FIFA break. The stakes were high and bragging rights for Guadalajara were on the line.
Coach Tomas Boy opted for the same alignment up front – a 4-3-3 – as he used against Cruz Azul on Matchday 8. He did tinker with his back four, inserting Jesus Sanchez at right back in place of Jose Carlos van Rankin, while 20-year-old central defender Gilberto Sepulveda was a starter in place of injured Oswaldo Alanis again.
Boy went with his gut and again gave young forward Alexis Vega the start over the veteran striker Oribe Peralta. It would turn out to be a great decision.
The first half was mostly even, no major surprises and the teams returned to the locker room after a scoreless opening 45 minutes. A 0-0 score seemed likely until minute 63 when Vega dribbled left to right across the top of the box and let fly with a right-footed blast that left Atlas goalkeeper Camilo Vargas with no chance.
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Zorros defender Ismael Govea had given Vega just a bit of space and the Mexico striker took advantage to provide the Chivas with the winning goal. Vega is not new to scoring against Atlas. Last season, he produced a hat trick in Guadalajara’s 3-0 win over the Zorros, his best performance since joining the Chivas in January.
The derby was not pretty nor were their many spectacular plays, but Vega’s goal was the ultimate highlight of the night and maybe the best goal of the entire weekend in Liga MX.
The victory comes at a perfect time for coach Boy as his job has been at risk most of the last month or so. More importantly, the Chivas climbed up from 15th to 12th place in the standings, now with 11 points. Boy’s team will visit fast-improving Morelia on Friday with a chance to gain some much-needed momentum in hopes of relieving some of the relegation pressure they have been facing.
Atlas tumbled from 6th place into 10th with 13 points. The Zorros next face struggling Toluca at home with a chance to erase their awful performance in the Clasico Tapatio from their memory bank.