For a long time now it has appeared that the relegation fight would come down to a straight shootout between Atlante and Atlas but last night both sides came from behind, away from home to claim impressive victories and well and truly dragged Veracruz into the midst of the battle.
In Morelia, a scrappy second half goal from Roberto Gutiérrez and a superb injury time free kick from Michael Arroyo completed the comeback for Atlante, after Aldo Leao Ramirez had given the home side the lead. The three points sparked wild celebrations but also heaped pressure on Atlas who travelled to face Santos Laguna.
It didn’t start well for Los Rojinegros as Darwin Quintero bundled Santos in front but the response from Tomás Boy’s side was admirable. Rodrigo Millar produced the coolest of finishes when many would have snatched at the opportunity and sidestepped three defenders before slotting the equaliser past Oswaldo Sánchez.
Less than five minutes later Atlas led. A marauding run by Brazilian, Maikon Leite was spotted by Jose Ortigoza and his threaded pass released Leite to slot the ball past Sánchez.
Pedro Caixinha’s side were unable to find a way back into the game and instead with five minutes remaining Millar, completely unmarked was free to head his second of the match and ensure a precious three points for Atlas.
There was time for José Javier Abella to pull a goal back for Santos but it was too little, too late as their poor start to the Torneo Clausura continues. No doubt this is distracted by their Copa Libertadores commitments but that takes nothing away from Atlas and a wonderful win on the road.
Atlas winning means they leapfrog Veracruz in the Descenso and although Atlante still remain bottom their form in this Torneo is a promising sign. 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats from their 9 matches isn’t exactly relegation form and with Veracruz struggling it is now Los Tiburones Rojos who are sweating. They host Tijuana on Saturday and another defeat against a side with the worst away record in the league would be devastating.
Atlante had at one stage seemed almost certain to slide into the Ascenso but this three way tussle now looks set to run until the final day of the season.
Morelia 1 – 2 Atlante
Santos Laguna 2 – 3 Atlas