Tigres survive Mazatlán; Liga MX marathon rolls on

The Tigres had two players limp off in the first 10 minutes against Mazatlán, but still came away with the win. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images)
The Tigres had two players limp off in the first 10 minutes against Mazatlán, but still came away with the win. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images) /
Liga MX, week 6
Chivas fans are desperate to see Alexis Vega celebrate a goal, like he did here after scoring against Monterrey in November. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

The potential pitfalls of playing three games in eight days were on display in Mazatlán Friday night as two Tigres players limped off the pitch with muscle strains in the first 10 minutes of the Matchday 6 contest.

Leo Fernández (minute 8) and Rafa Carioca (minute 10) forced early line-up adjustments and coach Miguel Herrera was nearly at wit’s end a few minutes later when Juan Pablo Vigón took spikes to the ankle that knocked him out of the game just after the half hour mark.

The stamp by Cañoneros midfielder Richard Rios produced a red card (after VAR summoned ref Eduardo Galván to view the replay because the man with the whistle somehow missed the foul) and the hosts played the final 68 minutes with 10 men.

Two goals early in the second half helped the Tigres make quick work of the hosts after an ineffective first half. Another red card for Mazatlán and a penalty kick turned the game into a laugher, Tigres winning 3-0.

Liga MX marathon continues

Elsewhere across Liga MX this weekend, Matchday 6 seemed certain to supply some entertaining matches, a few that could arguably make or break a team’s season. Sunday will mark the conclusion to

Fourth-place Monterrey is set to host the woebegone Chivas whose coach – Víctor Manuel Vucetich – is at risk of dismissal before August is out. Guadalajara – aka, the UnderaChivas – find themselves in 12th place with a 1-2-2 record and a –2 goal differential. Failure to earn at least a point at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer could situate next week’s contest against Necaxa as a do-or-die game for Vucetich.

The result from Sunday’s Pumas-Puebla clash could determine how UNAM approaches the remainder of the Apertura 2021. Another loss for the Pumas could prompt the club to turn entirely to its Kiddie Corps, utilizing the final 11 games of the Liga MX season as an extended tryout camp for its academy players.

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UNAM is in last place in the Liga MX table (0-2-3) with a disastrous –7 goal differential. The club has no money to add a difference-maker during the remaining four weeks of the transfer window and the proud Pumas might be better served by determining if there is some promise in the pipeline. That, at least, might provide a head start on preparing for next season.

Lastly, the weekend finale in Querétaro could dampen playoff dreams for either the Gallos Blancos or the Tuzos. Of course, last season the Tuzos started out 0-4-5 and still made the Liga MX playoffs so I risk being premature in suggesting an epitaph should be prepared.

But Pachuca has lost three straight while Querétaro is one of five winless Liga MX teams remaining. The final whistle at Estadio Corregidora will bring to an end a busy stretch that will have seen 26 Liga MX games in 11 days.

Potential playoff pairings?

Matchday 6 also provides Liga MX fans with an attractive match-up pitting two title contenders: Santos Laguna at León on Saturday.

The host Esmeraldas are in second place thanks to a four-game win streak that has erased the stench of a 4-0 rout by Pachuca in the season-opener. Santos – last season’s losing finalist – is off to a slow start but can’t be counted out of the Liga MX title chase.

Expected line-ups: Barça at Athletic Bilbao. dark. Next

The Guerreros are undefeated but only have one victory through five games as coach Guillermo Almada has found it necessary to juggle his line-up due to injuries and absences (two players had been away on international duty). Fortunately, Santos can count on a wealth of youngsters from its academy system.