EDGAR ZUNIGA - Monday, February 11, 2013
Club Tijuana finally tasted defeat, Herculez Gomez was frustrated at home, Jose Francisco Torres and Tigres roared once more, while DaMarcus Beasley scored a pair to lead Puebla to victory.
Club Tijuana 1 - 2 Club America
With a victory over the reigning Liga MX Champions, Club America showed that they are legit and a serious contender for the crown.
Even reduced to just nine men, Club America was too much for the Xoloitzcuintles to handle, building a 2-0 lead by the 53rd minute and silencing the usually raucous Estadio Caliente crowd.
With Greg Garza still to see action and Joe Corona on the bench, it was just Edgar Castillo in the starting 11 representing for the Three Amigos.
It was a battle of two heavyweights and both teams came out swinging, with Club Tijuana looking for the goal via Duvier Riascos. However, any attempts on the Club America goal were smothered by goalkeeper Moises Muñoz.
Meanwhile, Club America just kept chipping away at the Club Tijuana defense, looking for any opportunities. Then, in the 10th minute, Cristian Pellerano fouled Christian Benitez in the 18-yard box, giving Club America a penalty shot, which was scored by Osvaldo Martinez.
It was the first time this season that Xolos was down at home.
Club America was reduced to 10 players in the 21st when Rubens Sambueza was given a second yellow card for a hard foul on Riascos, having picked up the first one in the first minute of play.
Things got even hairier for Club America in the 38th when Aquivaldo Mosquera received a second yellow card after fouling Fernando Arce. Mosquera had gotten carded earlier after protesting Sambueza's expulsion.
Despite having a two-man advantage, Club Tijuana could not take advantage of the situation although they had Club America trapped in their half of the field.
In the second half, Club Tijuana kept plugging away, trying to bring things even. However, everything fell apart in the 53rd minute, when Club America took off on a counterattack and Paul Aguilar came in from the right flank and fired a shot that eluded Xolos 'keeper Cirilo Saucedo, leaving the Club Tijuana faithful stunned.
Three minutes later, Castillo was subbed out. Then, in the 65th Joe Corona jumped into action, substituting Fidel Martinez. However, Corona was unable to score for his team.
Things got interesting in the 75th minute when a centering pass by Raul Enriquez was redirected into the goal by Pablo Aguilar, setting off the Estadio Caliente.
Alas, despite their hurried attempts, the Xolos fell short and Club America left the field victorious. The loss dropped Club Tijuana to a third-place tie with Atlas, while Club America took sole claim of second place, one point behind undefeated, first-place Tigres.
San Luis 1 - 3 Puebla
Coming on in the second half, DaMarcus Beasley finally ended his drought, scoring a pair of late goals to lead Puebla to a strong victory on the road against San Luis.
The win was the third for Puebla this season and propelled them into sixth place, just six points from first place.
While Beasley had to wait before his theatrics, Michael Orozco started for Puebla and went the full 90.
Puebla wasted no time in taking the lead, as Felix Borja finished off a quick counterattack, beating 'keeper Oscar Perez with a cross for the 1-0 score.
Although Puebla looked to be the better squad in the early stages of the game, they were unable to add to their lead and San Luis began to get more involved.
Then, in the 13th minute, a terrific centering pass by Alan Miguel Zamora was headed into the goal by Ricardo Jimenez, leveling the score at a goal apiece.
In the 37th minute, Puebla defender Jesus Chavez had to leave the game due to injury.
The second half began with Puebla forcing the issue but their repeated attempts were foiled by Perez. An apparent San Luis goal was disallowed after a linesman dictated the scorer was offside.
Then, in the 57th minute, cue the entrance music and Beasley came on for Matias Alustiza. About 10 minutes later, Beasley was in the books after getting a yellow for a hard foul.
However, he finally shined in the 81st minute, when Beasley elegantly chested down pass from Isaac Romo and fired a potent shot toward the far post to beat Perez and give Puebla the 2-1 lead.
In the 88th, Beasley iced the game when he combined with Borja and once again beat Perez with another blistering right-footed shot.
Puebla took home the win and Beasley left the field with head held high as the hero of the day.
Toluca 1 - 4 Tigres
Jose Francisco Torres started for Tigres and went 78 minutes as his team dismantled Toluca to continue their torrid pace atop the Liga MX standings.
The way Tigres is playing they seem like this season's team of destiny. Anybody saying otherwise will have to wait another week as the 4-1 Tigres victory was the first on the road against Toluca in a decade.
Tigres had threatened early on but were unable to convert. However, in the 34th minute, Emanuel Villa ran into the 18-yard box, eluded defender Diego Novaretti and got 'keeper Alfredo Talavera to run out before tapping the ball to Juninho who fired the ball from the penalty spot straight into the goal.
Tigres took the 1-0 lead into the half and Toluca still held hopes of a comeback.
However, just five minutes into the second half, Carlos Esquivel took down Villa in the box, earning Tigres a penalty kick. Lucas Lobo stepped up and scored to make it 2-0 for Tigres.
In the 77th, Toluca got fresh breath of air as they cut the lead in half on a corner kick that was headed toward the goal by Lucas Antonio Silva and redirected into the roof of the net by Edgar Dueñas.
A minute later, Torres was subbed out for Jesus Alberto Dueñas.
As the game began to wind down, Toluca went all out to find the tie. However, in injury time, things went from bad to worse to Hell for Toluca.
One minute into extra time, Torres Nilo scrambled down the ride side and up the touch line before sending a diagonal pass across the box to Luis Garcia, who blasted the shot past Talavera.
Villa hammered home the final nail the coffin three minutes later when, on a similar play, his first shot on goal bounced off the near post and back toward him and he fired again past Talavera for the 4-1 final score.
With the Club Tijuana loss, Tigres find themselves completely alone atop Liga MX.
Santos Laguna 0 - 1 Pachuca
Herculez Gomez started and went the full 90 but was powerless as Santos Laguna was completely shut down at home in a loss to Pachuca.
It was a frustrating encounter for Gomez and his teammates, as they had numerous opportunities to score but either lacked the scoring touch or saw their shots smothered by the Pachuca defense.
Gomez, in particular, had several close calls. Very early in the game, a shot by Gomez from just outside the area toward the near post, but his shot missed by centimeters.
Meanwhile, Pachuca didn't waste an opportunity in the 12th minute. angel Reyna beat his defender and fired on goal but his shot was deflected by Oswaldo Sanchez. However, the rebound fell to Hector Herrera, who calmly knocked the ball into the net, putting Pachuca up 1-0.
As the first half wore on, Gomez missed several more opportunities and Pachuca took dominance of the ball, corralling Santos in their own half.
The second half was more of the same, as Pachuca looked to dictate the pace, while Santos looked for a counter.
Gomez had another chance on a header, but the shot was deflected by defender Rodolfo Cota.
Santos became desperate as the game near the end, but Gomez and Darwin Quintero were unable to do anything whatsoever.
The loss was the first for Santos at home and dropped them to eighth place, as Pachuca leapfrogged them into seventh.