EDGAR ZUNIGA - Monday, November 12, 2012
Herculez Gomez was powerless to save Santos, DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla were humiliated at home, but Edgar Castillo and the Xolos feasted on birria in Guadalajara.
Morelia 2-0 Santos Laguna
On a weekend when many teams were pushed to the brink and brought a "kill or be killed" mentality to the field, it seems that Santos Laguna was simply fodder for a hungrier team.
Benji Joya, was nowhere to be seen, and Herculez Gomez, who had rescued his team many times in the past, did not see any action until the 68th minute, just a few minutes removed from Morelia's second goal, and far too late to turn the rising tide that drowned the champions.
Santos came into the game barely holding on to the last playoff spot, but with the 2-0 loss have seen all hope of defending their crown extinguished.
In a game that Morelia dominated throughout, Miguel Sabah scored the first of his two goals in the 18th minute, when Santos defender Felipe Baloy whiffed on a clearance and Sabah jumped on the ball and fired a shot past 'keeper Oswaldo Sánchez.
Despite their dire situation, Santos was unable to muster any attack and lacked any semblance of urgency.
Their only true opportunity came on an individual attempt in the 61st minute by Oribe Peralta, who chested a pass down with this back to the net and, with a degree of difficulty, attempted to turn and fire but was unable to score.
Then, in the 66th minute, Sabah delivered the killing blow. Carlos Adrián Morales passed to Joel Huiqui, who fired a pass to Sánchez's far post, where Sabah powered the goal in with a flying header.
Sabah almost made it a hat trick in the 72nd minute when a shot by Aldo Leao was stopped by Sánchez and the rebound fell to Sabah, whose shot struck the post.
With Chivas losing to Club Tijuana, Santos will rue a missed opportunity to at least get a draw and leapfrog Guadalajara for the eighth playoff spot.
Meanwhile, fifth-place Morelia punched their ticket and will now face Club America, who finished the season on fire.
Puebla 0-1 Queretaro
In what has been a nightmare season, Puebla couldn't even defeat one of the historically weakest team in Liga MX history, turning in another embarrassing performance at home, in their loss to Queretaro.
DaMarcus Beasley got the start and went all 90 minutes but went scoreless again, as Queretaro avoided being pegged as the worst team in league history with a 1-0 victory-their first of the season.
This ends a frustrating season for Beasley and Puebla, who weren't able to find a way to score on Queretaro, even after Gonzalo Pineda got a second yellow and subsequent red in the 68th minute, leaving the Gallos Blancos with 10 men.
Queretaro got the only goal in the game, in the 12th minute, when Luis Ángel Landín took advantage of a miscue by the Puebla defense, penetrated the 18-yard box and blasted a right-footed shot that beat 'keeper Alexandro Álvarez.
Meanwhile, Beasley had two clear opportunities to score for Puebla, one in the 42nd minute, when he stole the ball from a Queretaro defender and rushed into the box only to have his shot saved, and another in the 87th minute, when he was one of several Puebla players who were unable to score after the ball caromed around in front of the 6-yard box.
Chivas 0-2 Club Tijuana
Although the Three Amigos have been a big hit with Club Tijuana, only Edgar Castillo saw action on Sunday as the Xoloitzcuintles made quick work of Chivas in Guadalajara, to finish in second place.
Joe Corona and Greg Garza were given the day off, but Castillo went the full 90 in a match that was dominated by Club Tijuana from whistle to whistle.
Club Tijuana wasted no time at all, taking the lead just 10 seconds into the match!
A long pass from the backline to just outside the Chivas 18-yard box was tracked down by Alfredo Moreno, who was able to beat Hector Reynoso and then chip a shot over Chivas 'keeper Luis Ernesto Michel, who was positioned just in front of the 6-yard box and was unable to do anything as the ball nestled into the goal, giving the Xolos the early lead, to the shock of the home crowd.
Less than two minutes later, Club Tijuana made the Chivas backline look silly, when Michel ran outside the area to try to clear the ball but could only muster a weak pass that was quickly intercepted by Moreno, who passed to a streaking Duvier Riascos, who caught Michel backpedaling and fired a shot past him and into the net, giving Club Tijuana the two goals they would need to win the game.
Although Chivas tried desperately to try and react on offense, they couldn't muster any serious threat and instead found themselves committing numerous mistakes that nearly turned into more goals for Club Tijuana.
Although the Xolos tied with Toluca on points, the Red Devils finished in first due to a better goal differential, which Club Tijuana could have easily overcome if they had scored on at least three of the many Chivas mistakes that led to goal opportunities.
Nevertheless, with the second-place finish the Xolos qualified for the Copa Libertadores and will now face Monterrey, who finished seventh, in the first round of playoffs.
Despite the loss, Chivas just barely made it into the playoffs with the eighth and final playoff spot and will have to deal with Toluca.
Not listed as injured or facing suspension, it was surprising to see that Jose Francisco Torres missed Pachuca's last game of the season. With nothing to play for, Pachuca saved their best for last, filling the role of spoilers, defeating Jaguares 2-1 and denying the team from Chiapas of a postseason berth.
Michael Orozco missed yet another game with San Luis, who lost 2-0 to Toluca, who finished in first place.