Liga MX is well and truly back under way and Saturday’s fixtures provided plenty to talk about. Bicampeones, León started their defence with defeat in the Camp Nou against Club América, due in part to William Yarbrough’s first half blunder. Pachuca surprised Cruz Azul and earned a 1-0 win inside the Estadio Azul despite ending the game with 9 men. Leones Negros began life back in the top-flight for the first time in 20 years with a 3-1 loss to Monterrey and Santos Laguna heaped more relegation pressure on Veracruz with a narrow 1-0 win. Lastly, Atlas and Tigres played out a rather drab goalless draw.
Cruz Azul 0 – 1 Pachuca
La Máquina will once again be hoping that this could be their season after such a strong start in the Torneo Clausura last time so yesterday’s home defeat to Pachuca is a reality check.
New signing, Matías Alustiza put Pachuca in front after some excellent work by Daniel Arreola but in truth Cruz Azul had more than enough chances to get something from the match.
Additionally, with Pachuca having Jorge Hernández and Arreola sent off in the second half, Cruz Azul should have been able to find a way through. Mariano Pavone was guilty of missing probably the best chance as La Máquina slumped to opening day defeat.
Veracruz 0 – 1 Santos
Los Tiburones Rojos can ill-afford too many matches in the Estadio Luis Pirata Fuente like this if they are to avoid relegation. Veracruz had plenty of possession but were simply unable to break down Santos in sweltering conditions.
With Santos’ talented array of attacking options they are always likely to be a threat and after already creating a few chances, they eventually took the lead just before half time. Nice interplay between Darwin Quintaro and Javier Orozco opened up space for Andrés Rentería on the edge of the box and his low shot had just a little too much for Edgar Hernández.
Monterrey 3 – 1 Leones Negros
After 20 years outside the top flight, Saturday’s match in Monterrey was a timely reminder of what is required at this level. Starting with an away match against Los Rayados was not the easiest of tasks and will serve as a learning experience for Leones Negros.
Humberto Suazo got Monterrey off to the perfect start with a finely struck free kick from the edge of the box after just 3 minutes but the newly-promoted side reacted well and found an equaliser through Club América loanee, Andrés Ríos.
However, the attack of Los Rayados was always dangerous and even after Suazo had wasted a chance from the penalty spot, a second goal always looked likely.
Just after the hour mark, Monterrey took the lead. A superb through ball by Severo Meza found César Delgado and he skipped around Iván Vázquez to slot the ball home.
Late on, Dorlan Pabon added a third to complete the victory.
León 1 – 2 Club América
It might only be the opening weekend but a win over Bicampeones, León is a huge boost for Club América and manager, Antonio Mohamed.
Las Águilas took the lead after 19 minutes when Oribe Peralta combined with Paraguayan, Osvaldo Martínez and the midfielder was left to tap the ball into an unguarded net.
León reacted well and might have been level if the keen-eyed linesman had not noticed Mauro Boselli to be just a fraction of offside before heading the ball into the net.
Just before the break, the lead was extended and again it was Martínez, although this time the assist undoubtedly went to León goalkeeper, William Yarbrough. Martínez’s harmless freekick sailed on goal and the usually reliable, Yarbrough caught the ball before stumbling back over his goalline and gifting América a second goal.
After the break, León tested Moises Munoz on a few occasions but failed to create too much momentum and it took two penalties for La Fiera to finally pull a goal back. Boselli saw his initial effort saved after Juan Valenzuela had tripped Yamilson Rivera but immediately after the save, Pablo Aguilar committed another foul and at the second time of asking Boselli made no mistake.
Las Águilas held on for a great opening weekend victory and will be full of confidence ahead of next weekend’s clash with Tijuana in the Estadio Azteca.
Atlas 0 – 0 Tigres
Atlas and Tigres promised much more on paper but the reality was a rather disappointing goalless draw. Neither side wanted to lose when perhaps a bit more of a bold approach was needed.
Atlas have some decent attacking options and when Tigres had Marco Rubén sent off with 20 minutes remaining maybe more a risk should have been taken.
Tigres shaded the match and came closest to scoring but neither side will be too disappointed with the point.