In the second matchday of the pre-season GNP Cup tournament, Atlas took on Chivas.
Anticipation for el Rebano Sagrado to finally play in a sanctioned match was very high. After ending last season at the 5th spot in the table before the season was officially canceled due to Covid-19 Chivas came in confident. After a relatively quiet offseason, the team was ready to get back to work under coach Fernando Tena.
Atlas, on the other hand, was more comfortable then they usually looked in a Clasico Tapatio. With Rafa Puente Jr. still being at the helm of the team and with relegation being off for 5 years, even though it’s not the Clausura 2020 Atlas came in less stressed. They made sure to add former America forward Renato Ibarra, who has been heavily criticized for allegations of domestic abuse against his wife. He has yet to debut for the team.
Atlas struck first with a shot on goal in the 6th minute with a beautiful behind the back pass by Luciano Acosta that went through the legs of Chivas defender Gilberto ‘Tibu’ Sepuleveda’s and played in an Atlas attacker but the shot was blocked by Chivas GoalkeeperTono Rodriguez’s right hand.
A few minutes later Chivas came down attacking with Jesus Angulo‘s speed beating two Atlas defenders with speed and bringing the ball down into the box and finding a Jose Juan Macias that was wide open and hit a low ground shot that finished near the second post beating the last defender and Atlas’s goalkeeper Jose Hernandez fairly easily. Chivas were up 1-0
Then in the 23rd minute, Jesus Angulo got free once again, this time on the counter and beat everyone just on speed alone, then finished the shot off curving it past Atlas’s goalkeeper Jose Hernandez to make it 2-0. Then in the 33rd minute Chivas earned a shot outside the box on the left portion of the field and Alexis Vega stepped up to take the free-kick, he hits it perfectly with the shot curving into the left post but Atlas keeper Jose Hernandez just manages to puh it out before the ball crossed the goalkeeper line.
In the second half, a ton of changes was made on both teams and shots were exchanged but were either off-target or bad shots. Chivas went on to win 2-0. The implementation of water breaks in the middle of both halves was a good move, but both teams looked to be moving well and nobody seemed too much out of shape. It’s promising and the worries of fatigue affecting players may not be as big of an issue as we originally thought.
Overall it was a good weekend of play in the GNP Cup for Mexico’s first round. with America beating Toluca 2-0, Cruz Azul beating Pumas 4-1, and Tigres tying Mazatlan F.C for 0-0.