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Clausura 2015 Gran Final: Where to Watch

liga mxQuerétaro and Santos Laguna will compete for the Clausura 2015 title in the Gran Final. Querétaro has never before made a final, while Santos Laguna will be making their 10th appearance in search of their 5th title.

Like the previous rounds, the final is a two-legged, total goals series. Unlike the previous rounds, there are no tiebreakers. Any aggregate tie will send the second leg to overtime and penalty kicks if needed.

Clausura 2015 Gran Final

First Leg
Thursday, May 28
Santos Laguna (8) vs Querétaro (6) – 9:30 PM – Azteca America

Second Leg
Sunday, May 31
Querétaro (6) vs Santos Laguna (8) – 9:30 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes

Rubén Romano Named Coach of Tijuana

Argentinian manager Rubén Omar Romano has taken the reins of Club Tijuana ahead of the Apertura 2015 season. Romano and his coaching staff – Norberto Scoponi, Gilberto Adame, and Luis Canay – replace Daniel Guzmán and his staff, who mutually agreed to end their relationship with the club on May 13th after failing to qualify for the Liguilla.

Romano, 57, has decades of experience coaching in Mexico, where he was overseen teams such as Morelia, Pachuca, Cruz Azul, Atlas, América, and Santos Laguna. He was most recently in charge of Puebla, who he coached from the Apertura 2013 to the Apertura 2014.

In their press release, Tijuana highlighted Romano’s “attacking brand of soccer” and the fact that he “always look[s] to be competitive in every aspect of the game.”

The Xolos will begin their preseason next week under Romano’s direction.

Pumas Signs Fidel Martínez and Marcelo Alatorre

After their relegation, Leones Negros’s financial troubles have led to what is essentially a fire sale of their best players. Pumas UNAM is the first one to take advantage, snapping up Fidel Martínez and Marcelo Alatorre from the Universidad de Guadalajara.

Pumas made the acquisitions official on their Twitter account:

Martínez, 25, is an Ecuadorian striker who has plied his trade in Mexico since 2012, playing for first Tijuana and then Leones Negros, where he was the team’s leading goalscorer in the Clausura 2015 season.

Alatorre, 30, is a defender who started his career with Estudiantes Tecos back in 2005 before moving to Leones Negros in 2013. Alatorre started 15 games for Leones in the Clausura 2015 season.

Liga MX Referee Assignments: Clausura 2015 Final First Leg

liga mxThe referee, assistant referees, and fourth official for the first leg of the Clausura 2015 Liga MX Gran Final.

Santos Laguna vs Querétaro
Referee: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto
Assistant 1: Marvin César Torrentera Rivera
Assistant 2: Marcos Quintero Huitrón
Fourth Official: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo

Isaác Brizuela Out 6 Weeks after Surgery

Chivas de Guadalajara winger Isaác Brizuela suffered a hip flexor injury at the beginning of the month, and he is now dealing with a sports hernia. Brizuela returned to training last week after recovering from his initial injury, but he then underwent surgery this Wednesday to treat the new problem.

The surgery was successful, according to Brizuela. Chivas de Guadalajara has not yet made a statement about the injury or surgery, but Brizeula took to Twitter to report that everything went well.

“Thank God everything went well in the operating room, excellent medical staff, now to recover one hundred percent.”

He will spend approximately six weeks recovering.

Clausura 2015 Gran Final Preview: First Leg

Santos Laguna (8) vs Querétaro (6) – 9:30 PM – Azteca America
On Thursday night, 8th-seeded Santos Laguna will look to put their home field advantage to good use one more time. After upsetting Tigres UANL and Chivas de Guadalajara in the quarterfinals and semifinals, the Laguneros will now fight for their 5th league title in their 10th appearance in the finals. Santos is unbeaten at home in their last seven matches, although the majority of those games ended in draws. Of course, Santos drew at home in both earlier rounds of the Liguilla, only to win away in the return leg, but they would rather go into the second leg of the Gran Final with the advantage.

As for Querétaro, the Gallos Blancos are making their first-ever appearance in the final and Víctor Manuel Vucetich will look to cement his “King Midas” moniker by leading them to victory. Querétaro has not won on the road in the Liguilla, with home victories carrying them on to the next round, but they will look to change that here. Pre-playoffs, the Gallos had a three-game road winning streak going, a streak in which they scored an astonishing 11 goals. Querétaro advanced to the final thanks to the higher-seed tiebreaker after a 2-2 aggregate draw, but there are no tiebreakers in the Gran Final. The Gallos have to win the series outright to claim their first title, and they will look for a statement win here.

In the lone regular season meeting between these two teams, Santos Laguna defeated Querétaro 1-0 at Querétaro in Jornada 4.

Tigres UANL vs Emelec – Copa Libertadores Second Leg

Copa_Bridgestone_Libertadores_logoTigres UANL booked their spot in the Copa Libertadores semifinals with a 2-0 (2-1 aggregate) win over Emelec on Tuesday night. The universitarios were able to overturn their first-leg deficit, while the Ecuadorian club was unable to earn their first positive result on Mexican soil.

In front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd, Tigres struck early to tie the aggregate. In the 5th minute of the game, Joffre Guerrón was fouled along the left wing, giving Tigres a free kick. Rafael Sobis took it and sent the ball into the box; no one managed to reach it, but it fooled the keeper and ended up in the back of the net.

With the 1-0 score, Emelec was obligated to find a goal of their own. If the aggregate remained 1-1, the game would go to penalty kicks; if Tigres scored again, they would advance.

The Ecuadorians couldn’t generate much going forward, though, and Tigres stayed in control of the match. Jesús Dueñas had a chance go begging in the 20th minute before Enrique Esqueda’s diagonal shot went just wide of the post in the 26th, while José Rivas missed a clear chance from a corner kick a minute later.

In the second half, the visitors began to generate some chances of their own, with Miller Bolaños the dangerman for Emelec. Nahuel Guzmán did well to save a one-on-one with Bolaños in the 60th minute to keep Tigres in front.

In the 72nd minute, the stadium went silent as Emelec put the ball in the back of the net, only to erupt again when the assistant referee raised his flag to disallow the goal for offside.

Then, in the 79th minute, Tigres found a second goal. Sobis, the man of the match for Tigres, sent a cross along the six-yard box; an Emelec defender deflected it, and the ball fell nicely for José Rivas, who buried it.

The 2-0 lead put Tigres ahead on aggregate for the first time in this series, although the final 10 minutes were nervy ones since Emelec still needed just one goal to go through. They would not get it, however, and they have now lost three straight Copa Libertadores games on Mexican soil.

With the 2-0 (2-1) victory, Tigres UANL advances to the semifinals, where they will face the winner of the Santa Fe/Internacional series.

Highlights

Lineups

Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán, Hugo Ayala, José Arturo Rivas, Jorge Torres Nilo, Israel Jiménez, Édgar Gerardo Lugo, Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas (Egidio Arévalo 89′), Joffre Guerrón (Damián Álvarez 45′), Rafael Sobis, Enrique Esqueda.

Emelec: Esteban Dreer, Jhon William Narvaez, Jorge Guagua, Gabriel Achillier, Oscar Bagüí, Fernando Vícente Gaibor (Javier Charcopa 86′), Pedro Quiñonez, Osbaldo Lastra (Bryan Angulo 80′), Marcos Mondaini (Robert Javier Burbano 70′), Emanuel Herrera, Miller Bolaños. 

Miguel Herrera Injured, Dropped from Copa América Roster

el triAn ankle injury came at the worst possible time for Pachuca’s Miguel Herrera Equihua, who will miss out on the 2015 Copa América.

An MRI done this morning led to the diagnosis of a grade 3 anterior talofibular ligament sprain, a grade 2 calcaneofibular ligament sprain, and fluid around the heel of his left ankle.

The injury means that Herrera was removed from Mexico’s 23-man roster for the Copa América. In his place, “Piojo” Herrera has called up Juan Carlos Valenzuela of Atlas.

Ignacio Ambriz Presented as New América Coach

Logo AmericaOne week after the announcement that Gustavo Matosas and Club América had mutually agreed to part ways, the Águilas have named his replacement: Ignacio Ambriz.

Ambriz, 50, was most recently in charge of Querétaro, who he managed from February 4, 2013, to February 23, 2015, when he was fired. He has also coached Puebla, San Luis, and Chivas de Guadalajara.

Ricardo Peláez, América’s Sporting President, and José Romano, their Operating Director, officially presented Nacho Ambriz in a press conference this Tuesday.

Peláez explained the choice of Ambriz by pointing out that he is a manager who is hungry for titles. “Today I realized that when you have various titles in your pocket, perhaps you don’t have the same desire, the same commitment to win something, and I do see [that desire] in Nacho.”

Ambriz, who has yet to win any silverware as a manager, said that “América can give me the hope of being champion.”

Among the goals set for América are: reaching 30 points in the league, qualifying for the Liguilla, and defending their CONCACAF Champions League title.

Enrique Bonilla Named New President of Liga MX

liga mxThe president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), Justino Compeán, will bid farewell to his post on July 31st. Replacing him on August 1st will be Decio de María, who is the current president of Liga MX.

With De María moving from the league to the national federation, a vacancy appeared at the head of Liga MX. Enrique Bonilla, who has been serving as the Director General of the league, will take over as Liga MX president.

Bonilla thanked Justino Compeán and congratulated him for the support, effort, and guidance he has given to the FMF, Liga MX, and the Liga de Ascenso. “Mexican soccer has changed thanks to your leadership,” he declared.

Mexico’s 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League Entrants Set

concacaf championsMexico is allotted four berths in the CONCACAF Champions League, with the winners of the Apertura and Clausura tournaments being placed in Pot A, and the two runners-up being placed in Pot B.

América and Tigres UANL qualified from the Apertura 2014 as the champion and runner-up, respectively, while Santos Laguna and Querétaro have qualified from the Clausura 2015 as the two finalists. With the final yet to be played, it remains to be seen which pot Santos and Querétaro will be placed in.

América will look to defend their 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League title, while Querétaro is making their first appearance in the competition. Tigres will look to improve on their quarterfinal finish from 2012-13, while Santos, who has twice made the final, will search for their first title.

The group stage will begin in August.