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Apertura 2015 Copa MX Review: Group 6 Game 1

copa mx logoLeones Negros 0-0 Atlas
Neither Leones Negros nor Atlas could find the back of the net in their Copa MX opener as the two settled for a 0-0 draw. Both of these teams play their home games in the Estadio Jalisco, although tonight’s match was nominally a home game for Leones Negros.

It was Atlas who started off the brighter, enjoying more possession and foraying forward into Leones’ defensive third. However, it took them until the 41st minute to find a clear goalscoring opportunity, when Martín Barragán found himself alone in the box but sent his shot wide.

In the second half, the UdeG grew into the game, and in the 54th minute they earned a penalty kick after Luis Caballero committed a foul in the box. However, Juan Hernández saw his spot kick saved by “Gansito” Hernández. Leones had another great chance to win it in the 75th minute, when Juan Anagonó drove into the box and shot towards the far post, but Miguel Fraga made the save.

With the 0-0 draw, both teams reach one point in the group table.

Dorados de Sinaloa 1-2 Murciélagos
The visiting Murciélagos opened the scoring and then found a late winner after an equalizer by Dorados de Sinaloa to snatch all three points from “El Gran Pez” in the Estadio Banorte.

It didn’t take long for Murciélagos to find a goal, with Emmanuel Tapia giving them cause for celebration in just the 14th minute. It wasn’t until the second half that Dorados found a response, with Héctor Mancilla equalizing in the 64th minute to tie the game 1-1.

However, Murciélagos would quickly respond and in the 70th minute Ridrigo Pastorini restored the visitors’ lead. The 1-2 scoreline held throughout the rest of the encounter, lifting the Bats to the top of the group table with three points while Dorados slips into last with zero.

Group Table – Group 6

# Team W T L GF GA GD +Pts Points
1 Murciélagos 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
2 Atlas 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
3 Leones Negros 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
4 Dorados de Sinaloa 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0

Cruz Azul vs Leones Negros – Jornada 17

cruz azul leones negrosLeones Negros earned a 0-2 win against 10-man Cruz Azul, but not even that victory was enough to save the Universidad de Guadalajara from relegation. To remain in Liga MX, Leones needed not only a win, but also a Puebla loss, and La Franja managed a 2-2 draw with Santos Laguna. The result was also a bitter one for the home team, as the loss eliminated La Máquina from playoff contention.

For about 25 minutes, it looked like Leones Negros might save themselves, as Jonathan González had put them in front at the same time that Puebla was losing to Santos. But Puebla’s comeback took the UdeG’s survival out of their hands, relegating them despite their victory.

González opened the scoring in the Estadio Azul in the 19th minute, when he ran on to a headed pass and shot from between two defenders to beat Jesús Corona. His goal was just Leones’ 12th of the season, with the worst offense in the league beating the defense that had posted five consecutive shutouts to start the season.

Cruz Azul needed to go in search of an equalizer, but they were hard-pressed to generate many dangerous chances. Roque Santa Cruz hit the post, but La Máquina could get no closer than that.

Their task became much harder in the 44th minute, when Christian “Chaco” Giménez was given a straight red card after insulting assistant referee José Luis Camargo. Down to ten men, Cruz Azul looked even less threatening and when González scored again in the 68th minute it was clear that there would be no comeback forthcoming.

However, the two-goal win was not enough for Leones Negros thanks to Puebla’s draw. Although the two ended up with the same point-per-game average of 1.0294, Leones Negros were relegated due to the goal difference tiebreaker.

With this result, the Universidad de Guadalajara bids farewell to the first division after just a single year, while Cruz Azul misses out on the playoffs for the second straight season.

With the 0-2 win, Leones Negros reach 18 points while Cruz Azul remains on 25.

Highlights

Lineups

Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Gerardo Flores, Francisco Rodríguez, Julio César Domínguez, Fausto Pinto, Christian Giménez, Gerardo Torrado, Rafael Baca, Joao Rojas, Alejandro Vela (José Carlos Toffolo 68′), Roque Santa Cruz.

Leones Negros: Humberto Hernández, Marcelo Alatorre, Héctor Reynoso, Leandro Cufré, Félix Araujo, Marc Crosas, Christian Díaz (Jorge Hernández 72′), Luis Fernando Télles, Jonathan González (Jairo González 83′), Juan Anangonó (Fernando Guerrero 62′), Fidel Martínez. 

Leones Negros Relegated

Leones Negros are returning to the Liga de Ascenso after just a single year in Liga MX. The Universidad de Guadalajara won their final first division game, 0-2 against Cruz Azul, but that was not enough to save them as they also needed relegation rivals Puebla to lose their final game, and instead La Franja managed a 2-2 draw.

Leones Negros finished the season in 16th place in the general table with 18 points, and last in the relegation standings with a 1.0294 point-per-game average, the product of 35 points earned in their 34 first division games.

A week-by-week look at the point-per-game averages of the four teams involved in the relegation fight.

A week-by-week look at the point-per-game averages of the four teams involved in the relegation fight.

The UdeG came oh-so-close to saving themselves, and ultimately were relegated due to the goal difference tiebreaker as Puebla also finished the season with a 1.0294 ppg average. Just one more point for them, or one less point for Puebla, and they would still be in the first division.

Clausura 2015 Week 17 Preview: Saturday’s Games

Monterrey vs Pumas UNAM – 8:00 PM – Unimás
Monterrey (11th) defeated Jaguares 0-2 last weekend to keep them in playoff contention. The Rayados need a win and some help to make the Liguilla, and they’ll look for the first part of that formula here. Monterrey is unbeaten at the Tec this season with five wins and two draws, and they won’t want to mar that record with a loss here, particularly since this is their last season in the Estadio Tecnólogico before they move into their new stadium. Dorlan Pabón has been scoring for fun as of late and his brace last weekend has put him squarely into the fight for the individual goalscoring title; the Monterrey icon will look to lead his side to victory with another goal or two here.

As for Pumas UNAM (13th), a 0-1 loss to Cruz Azul last weekend has all but eliminated them from playoff contention. While mathematically still in the running at the start of the weekend, they need so many results to go their way that they could already be eliminated before this game even kicks off. With that in mind, they’ll come out looking for a win as much to play spoiler to Monterrey as to help themselves, as this is likely to be their final game of the season. The universitarios haven’t done too well on the road this season, with just one win in their seven away games, and they could be distracted by off-field issues since the club being investigated after fan violence in their last game.

León vs Tijuana – 9:06 PM – Telemundo
León (17th) lost 2-0 to Puebla last weekend to extend their winless streak to an astonishing eight games. La Fiera has been tumbling down the table and they are trying to avoid dropping all the way into last place, which could happen if they lose here. After an unpleasant two-game road trip, León is now returning home for their final game of the season. They are winless in three in the Nou Camp and have in fact won just two of their home games all season, but they will look to set that aside and end their torrid Clausura 2015 on a high note. They have nothing left to play for but pride, and they need a win here to wash the bad taste of the season out of their mouths before they look to rebuild over the summer.

As for Tijuana (7th), the Xolos spent six consecutive weeks at the top of the table and are now in danger of missing out on the playoffs. Tijuana lost 1-2 to Atlas last weekend to give them a two-game losing streak and a six-game winless streak. The Xolos have lost five of their last six games and have reverted back to their notoriously poor road form; Tijuana has lost their last three straight away games and they’re winless in four. Despite all that, they do have the most prolific attack in the league with 28 goals scored, and their playoff destiny is still firmly in their own hands. For Tijuana the formula is simple: win and they’re in.

Santos Laguna vs Puebla – 9:30 PM – Azteca America
Santos Laguna (8th) is looking to lock up a playoff spot while Puebla (15th) is looking to avoid relegation. With the relegation fight still undecided, this game was moved to be played simultaneously with Cruz Azul-Leones Negros, with the UdeG also looking to avoid the drop.

Santos defeated Pachuca 2-3 last weekend to jump into the Liguilla places, and now their destiny is in their own hands: win and they’re in. Puebla’s destiny is also in their own hands; all they need is a draw, regardless of what Leones Negros do. They could also remain in the first division with a loss, but only if Leones lose as well, and Puebla is not going to want to have to pray that they do.

The Poblanos picked up an encouraging 2-0 win against León last weekend and with Matías Alustiza leading their lines, their offense has come to life. Puebla will look for “el Chavo” to continue his good form in front of goal as they look for the victory that would guarantee their salvation.

Cruz Azul vs Leones Negros – 9:30 PM – Univision Deportes
Cruz Azul (6th) is looking to lock up a playoff spot while Leones Negros (16th) have one last chance to avoid relegation. The Universidad de Guadalajara needs to win and pray that Puebla loses, as that combination of results is the only one that will keep Leones from dropping back into the Liga de Ascenso.

Meanwhile, La Máquina needs a win to guarantee their spot in the Liguilla, although their position is a little less precarious than Santos’s, and they could qualify even with a loss, assuming other results go their way. Cruz Azul won last weekend and are now returning home to the Estadio Azul, where they lost last time out to end a three-game unbeaten streak.

Leones Negros took the lead but couldn’t hold it last weekend, falling 1-2 to Veracruz to put them in an incredibly precarious situation. Leones are winless in six and the main reason for that is that they cannot score. Leones have managed just 11 goals this season, the fewest in the league – and three of those were own goals. If Fidel Martínez doesn’t score, no one does… and even if he does score, it might not be enough.

Atlas vs América – 10:00 PM – Unimás
Atlas (3rd) defeated Tijuana 1-2 last weekend to reach 28 points and qualify for the Liguilla. The Rojinegros are now angling for the best possible positioning, as they could finish anywhere between first and sixth. Atlas has a three-game winning streak and a five-game unbeaten streak, and they’re finishing out the regular season on their home ground, where they are unbeaten in three. Atlas will look for a strong end to the season and a good performance in the Liguilla as they look to erase the bad memories of a poor Copa Libertadores campaign.

As for América (5th), the Águilas are on the brink of the playoffs but aren’t yet mathematically guaranteed a spot. Their destiny is firmly in their own hands, as a win would automatically qualify them, and they could get in with a draw or even a loss, although that would depend on other results going their way. The winners of the Apertura 2014 will be eager for the chance to defend their title, particularly after they recently won the CONCACAF Champions League. This season has been a bit up and down for América, with both big wins and big losses, and they will look to silence their critics here.

Veracruz vs Leones Negros – Jornada 16

leones negros veracruzLeones Negros took the lead but couldn’t hold it, falling 1-2 to Veracruz to complicate their hopes of remaining in the first division. Leones now need to win their final game and hope that Puebla loses theirs in order to avoid relegation. As for Veracruz, they jumped to the top of the league table with the victory.

Leones Negros dominated the game in the early going and had several chances to score before an unusual own goal gave them the lead in the 23rd minute. A cross from Jonathan González took a slight deflection, which fooled goalkeeper Édgar Melitón Hernández. Although he got his hands to the ball, he ended up sending it into his own net, with the own goal making it 1-0 for Leones.

Then, the home team had a penalty shout denied after González appeared to be fouled in the box, taking a knee to the back of his thigh. But César Arturo Ramos didn’t call it, and the game continued.

Despite their chances, Leones Negros could not increase their advantage and that would come back to haunt them in the second half. In the 58th minute, after Fidel Martínez missed a good opportunity, Veracruz took the ball to the other end of the field and tied the game though Juan Ángel Albín.

Then, in the 85th minute, Veracruz scored the game winning goal, and one that prevents Leones from being in control of their own destiny in the relegation fight. Emanuel García got free on the left wing, got past two defenders, and fired past Humberto Hernández to make it 1-2.

Leones Negros threw everything and everyone forward in the final minutes, with even the goalkeeper coming up for a pair of late set pieces. They had chances to equalize and even came as close as hitting the underside of the crossbar with the last kick of the game, but the ball just would not go in.

With the 1-2 win, Veracruz reaches 28 points while Leones Negros remain on 15.

Highlights

Lineups

Leones Negros: Humberto Hernández, Leandro Cufré (Rodolfo Vilchis 77′), Héctor Reynoso, Luis Fernando Télles (Misael Vázquez 67′), Félix Araujo, Marc Crosas, Christian Díaz, Juan Anangonó, José Wenceslao Díaz (Jahir Barraza 84′), Fidel Martínez, Jonathan González.

Veracruz: Édgar Melitón Hernández, Jesús Paganoni, Leobardo López, Leiton Jiménez, Emmanuel García, Gabriel Peñalba, Luis Martínez (Óscar Vera 57′ – Rodrigo Noya 84′), Fernando Meneses, Juan Ángel Albín, Daniel Villalva (Michel Vázquez 86′), Julio César Furch. 

Clausura 2015 Week 16 Preview: Sunday’s Games

Pumas UNAM vs Cruz Azul – 1:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes
Pumas UNAM (11th) came from two goals down to snag a 3-3 draw against Veracruz last weekend, which kept the universitarios in playoff contention but outside of the top eight. Now returning home where they have a four-game winning streak going, Pumas will look to make the jump into the playoff places with a fifth consecutive home victory. Pumas has been very good defensively at home this season and has conceded one goal or fewer in each of their last five games; in fact, they haven’t given up a goal in the Estadio Universitario in 269 minutes.

As for Cruz Azul (9th), La Máquina lost 0-1 to Jaguares last weekend to fall out of the top eight and leave them dependent on other results if they want to qualify for the playoffs. Cruz Azul is in the midst of a two-game losing streak and they’ve lost three of their last four, including their last two road games. Cruz Azul hasn’t won away since Jornada 6 and they’re enduring a goal drought as well. La Máquina has only scored 13 goals this season, and they haven’t scored at all in the last 256 minutes. Given UNAM’s current defensive streak, that statistic does not bode well for Cruz Azul. Roque Santa Cruz and co. need to step up here to keep Cruz Azul’s playoff hopes alive.

Leones Negros vs Veracruz – 6:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Leones Negros (16th) lost 1-0 to Santos Laguna last weekend to keep them winless in three. The Universidad de Guadalajara is currently last in the relegation standings and their future in the first division is a question of very slim margins. However, they could be safe by the end of the weekend: if Puebla loses on Saturday night, Leones Negros would save themselves with a win here. If Puebla wins on Saturday, all the pressure will be on the UdeG to win as well to stay alive in the relegation fight. However, Leones are winless at home in their last three and have only won one of their last seven home games. They are also the lowest scoring team in the league with just 10 goals for this season, and they’re going up against one of the league’s better defenses. But desperation could be enough to lead them to victory.

As for Veracruz (2nd), the Tiburones Rojos are just one point out of first place and are looking to not only lock up a playoff spot but also challenge for the position of Superlíder. They were held to a 3-3 draw against Pumas last weekend, which kept them both unbeaten and winless in three after a series of draws. Veracruz has struggled on the road a bit as of late, where they have gone winless in three, but the Tiburones have the league’s leading goalscorer – Julio César Furch – and they have been very hard to beat this season, with just two losses, the fewest in the league.

Relegation Games to Be Played at the Same Time

liga mxWith two games remaining in the season, relegation has come down to Puebla and Leones Negros. Both teams still have the chance to save themselves, and should Jornada 17 – the final week of the season – roll around with the question of relegation still undecided, Puebla and Leones Negros will play their games at the same time.

Liga MX reported the decision with a press release stating, in part, “should… Puebla and Club Universidad de Guadalajara still have the chance to remain in the first division, their games will be played simeultaneously on May 9 at 10:00 PM.”

In the final two games of the season, Puebla will host León and visit Santos Laguna, while Leones Negros will host Veracruz and visit Cruz Azul.

Currently, Puebla has 101 points from 100 games for a point-per-game average of 1.0100. Leones Negros has 32 points from 32 games for a 1.000 average.

What do they need to save themselves?

If Leones Negros get 0-1 points, then Puebla is safe.
If Leones Negros get 2 points, Puebla needs 1*.
If Leones Negros get 3, Puebla needs 4*.
If Leones Negros get 4-6, then Puebla is relegated.

*In the asterisked scenarios, the two teams would have identical point-per-game averages and then it would come down to a tiebreaker, the first of which is goal difference. At the moment, Puebla is -1 and Leones -7 in that respect.

Update:

With one game remaining, Puebla has 104 points from 101 games (1.0297 ppg average) while Leones Negros have 32 points from 33 games (0.9697 ppg).

  • If Puebla wins or draws their final game, they are safe.
  • If Puebla loses and Leones Negros loses or draws, Puebla is safe.
  • If Puebla loses and Leones Negros win, Leones are safe.

Santos Laguna vs Leones Negros – Jornada 15

santos leones negrosSantos Laguna extended their home unbeaten streak to four games and climbed back into the playoff fight with a 1-0 win over Leones Negros. That loss drops the Universidad de Guadalajara to the bottom of the relegation table, pending Puebla’s result later this weekend.

Leones Negros have struggled mightily in front of goal this season, with just 10 goals in their 15 league games to date. As a result, Santos was able to take all three points thanks to a 36th-minute goal from Andrés Rentería, as Leones failed to score for the sixth time this season.

In the 36th minute, Javier Abella sent a cross into the heart of the area and Rentería scored with a diving header to make it 1-0 for the home team. That goal added new life to the game, with Leones obliged to search for a game winner, but it was Santos who had the better of the chances. Djaniny in particular had several clear opportunities to add to the lead, but he couldn’t capitalize on them.

The slim margin kept the UdeG in the game right up until the end, and Juan Anangonó very nearly equalized on two occasions, but neither of his headers found their mark. Leones Negros will now have to wait and see if they’ll end the weekend in last or penultimate in the Tabla de Cociente that controls relegation, while Santos, who jumped to 8th with the win, will see if they can remain in the playoff places after the rest of the results come in.

With the 1-0 win, Santos Laguna reaches 21 points while Leones Negros remain on 15.

Highlights

Lineups

Santos: Agustín Marchesín, José Javier Abella, Oswaldo Alanís, Néstor Araujo, Néstor Calderón, Diego Hernán González, Jesús Molina, Rodolfo Salinas (Alsono Escoboza 67′), Andrés Rentería (Javier Orozco 87′), Djaniny Tavares (Sergio Ceballos 76′).

Leones: Humberto Hernández, Jairo González, Héctor Reynoso, Luis Fernando Télles (Misael Vázquez 60′), Félix Araujo, Marcelo Alatorre (Fernando Guerrero 85′), Christian Díaz, Marc Crosas, Rodolfo Vilchis (Jonathan González 54′), Fidel Martínez, Juan Anangonó.

Clausura 2015 Week 15 Preview: Friday’s Games

Querétaro vs Tigres UANL – 8:30 PM – Azteca America / ESPN Deportes
Querétaro (8th) has shot up the table on the strength of a four-game winning streak, going from 17th to 8th between Jornadas 11 and 14. Now that the Gallos Blancos have reached the playoff places, they want to remain there. With just three games remaining in the season, no one has locked up a playoff spot and only one team is mathematically out of contention. Querétaro will be full of confidence after last weekend’s 0-4 away win against América, and they’ll look to make it five wins in a row when they return home to La Corregidora.

As for Tigres UANL (4th), the universitarios also won last weekend, earning a 3-0 victory in the Clásico Regiomontano against Monterrey. That gives Tigres two wins in their last three games, but both of those wins came at home. Tigres lost their last road game and drew the one before that, and haven’t won away from home since April 8th. They’ll also be missing the injured Hugo Ayala and Hernán Darío Burbano for this game.

Veracruz vs Pumas UNAM – 9:30 PM – Galavision
Veracruz (2nd) drew 1-1 with Jaguares de Chiapas to keep them both unbeaten in two and winless in three. The Tiburones Rojos are mathematically out of the relegation fight and can now concentrate fully on making the Liguilla. Veracruz is unbeaten at home this season, with four wins and three draws in their seven home games, and they’ll look to extend that streak to eight games. More than that, they’ll look to get back to winning ways after two consecutive draws. The table is congested, and the Tiburones could drop as far as 7th if they fail to win here. However, with the second-best offense and third-best defense in the league, Veracruz is a well-rounded team and they simply do not lose in the Luis “Pirata” Fuente.

As for Pumas UNAM (10th), the universitarios climbed to the brink of the playoff spots with a 1-0 win against Santos Laguna last weekend, which returned them to winning ways after a stumble in Jornada 13 ended their four-game winning streak. Pumas have won five of their last six, but four of those games were at home. On the road, they’ve been much more vulnerable, with three losses in their last four. Trying to overcome their poor road form against a Veracruz side that is very good at home might be too much to ask, but Pumas need to win to stay in playoff contention.

Santos Laguna vs Leones Negros – 10:30 PM – Azteca America
Santos Laguna (12th) slipped down the table after last weekend’s controversial loss to Pumas UNAM, in which a would-be tying goal that seemed to cross the line wasn’t given. The Laguneros will look to rebound from that loss when they return home, where they’re in the midst of a three-game unbeaten streak. Santos will look to the likes of Andrés Rentería and “Pulpo” González to score as they try to stay alive in the playoff fight.

As for Leones Negros (16th), the Universidad de Guadalajara is trying to stay alive in the relegation fight, which has come down to themselves and Puebla. Leones need just five points to guarantee their safety, but they’re winless in four and haven’t shown many signs of ending that streak. With just ten goals scored in their 14 games – and one of those was an own goal – Leones have scored multiple goals in just one game this season. Essentially, if they can’t get a shutout, they can’t win – and Santos’s offense has been dangerous this season.

Leones Negros vs Pachuca – Jornada 14

leones negros pachucaLeones Negros crept another point closer to safety after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Pachuca on Sunday evening. Pachuca needed to win to reach the playoff spots, but a red card to Aquivaldo Mosquera opened the door for the Universidad de Guadalajara to equalize, keeping the Tuzos outside the top eight for at least another week.

The home team had the first chance of the game, when Christian Díaz sent in a cross for Rodolfo Vilchis, who sent his shot crashing against the post. Leones Negros would end up hitting the woodwork three times in the game, with the posts and crossbar helping Óscar Pérez out.

However, it was the visitors who would take the lead. In the 18th minute, Ariel Nahuelpán dribbled around the box, trying to create the space he needed to get a shot off. That turned into a pass to Erick Gutiérrez, who finished the play off with a goal.

After falling behind, Leones Negros lost the thread of the game a bit, but Pachuca couldn’t take advantage while they had the chance, and in the second half the home team began to dominate.

First Juan Anangonó hit the woodwork twice, and then Pérez made a great save to deny Vilchis. The UdeG was knocking on the door, and after Pachuca captain Aquivaldo Mosquera earned his marching orders for a second yellow card – for an elbow to Christian Díaz as the two jockeyed for the ball – it was just a matter of time before they broke through.

In the 75th minute, Marc Crosas played the ball in for Anangonó, who headed it on to Fidel Martínez. Pérez got a hand to Martínez’s shot, but couldn’t do enough to change the trajectory; Miguel Herrera tried to hook it clear off the line, but was just a step late getting there.

With the goal, his sixth of the season, Martínez continues to almost single-handedly keep Leones Negros above water in the relegation fight, having scored 60% of Leones’ few goals.

After getting the equalizer, Leones threw everything forward looking for a winner, but Pachuca’s defense was able to stand firm. Leones now needs just five points to mathematically guarantee their safety – and that’s if Puebla wins out.

With the 1-1 draw, Leones Negros reach 15 points while Pachuca reaches 19.

Highlights

Lineups

Leones Negros: Humberto Hernández, Jairo González, Leandro Cufré, Marcelo Alatorre, Félix Araujo, Christian Díaz (José Wenceslao Díaz 86′), Marc Crosas, Rodolfo Vilchis (Jonathan González 78′), Luis Fernando Télles (Misael Vázquez 69′), Fidel Martínez, Juan Anangonó.

Pachuca: Óscar Pérez, Rodrigo Salinas, Aquivaldo Mosquera, Miguel Herrera, Walter Ayoví, Rodolfo Pizarro, Jorge Hernández, Erick Gutiérrez (Darío Cvitanich 86′), Cristian Penilla (Jürgen Damm 57′), Ariel Nahuelpán, Hirving Lozano (Heriberto Aguayo 65′).