Tuzos burrow their way past Puebla into first place

Roberto de la Rosa scored just before the final whistle to boost Pachuca into first place. The Tuzos defeated reigning Liga MX champs Atlas. (Photo by Carlos Zepeda/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Roberto de la Rosa scored just before the final whistle to boost Pachuca into first place. The Tuzos defeated reigning Liga MX champs Atlas. (Photo by Carlos Zepeda/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX M9 Pachuca
Santos players celebrate after overcoming a 2-1 deficit to win their second game in a row and climb out of the Liga MX basement. (Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Wednesday’s entertaining Matchday 9 quadruple header produced changes at the top and the bottom of the Liga MX standings.

Pachuca swapped places with Puebla atop the table by edging past 10-man Atlas. The win gives the Tuzos 19 points, 1 more than the Camoteros who had been in first place since Matchday 3.

Up in Torreón, Santos escaped the Liga MX cellar thanks to a 3-2 home win over the Pumas, its second victory in a row. That lifted the Guerreros from 18th to 13th place with 8 points.

Slipping into the basement is América (6 points, –5 goal differential) the same as Monterrey (+1 goal differential) and Atlético de San Luis (–3 goal differential). Perennial title favorites América and Monterrey boast the biggest payrolls in Liga MX and will be playing for sole possession of last place on Saturday night.

When a draw feels like a loss

In the top game of the night, Cruz Azul stole a point from the Tigres, escaping “El Volcán” with a last-gasp equalizer that felt like a game-winner.

The Tigres dominated the opening half but had to feel aggrieved going to the locker room with just a 2-1 advantage. André-Pierre Gignac scored for a sixth-straight game (tying a Tigres record) and he now leads Liga MX in scoring with 7 goals.

The home team could have been up 4-0 if not for Cruz Azul goalie “Chuy” Corona whose heroics continued into the second half. He stopped Gignac twice from close range late in the game.

Cementeros defender Luis Abram nodded home a deflected corner kick in minute 45+4 to give “La Máquina” hope heading into the break. Then, a brilliant solo effort by sub Santiago Giménez set up Ignacio Rivero inside the box and the Uruguayan punched home from 13 meters to tie it up.

The result leaves the Tigres in third place (17 points) and Cruz Azul remains in fourth (14 points). Puebla sits in second with 18 points.

And we have a new leader …

Pachuca claimed the title of best Liga MX team at the halfway-point with a gritty win over holders Atlas. The Zorros had control of the match heading into halftime but winger Jairo Torres was shown red in minute 45+2 and, as might be expected, the visiting Tuzos dominated after the break though unable to break down the vaunted Atlas defense.

In minute 87, Roberto de la Rosa gathered in a nifty side-footed pass from Fernando Navarro but had his first effort blocked. The rebound ended up at his feet and the sub blasted past two defenders from a sharp angle to give the Tuzos momentary Liga MX bragging rights.

In San Luis, the host Tuneros squandered a 2-0 first-half lead and settled for a 2-2 tie against the struggling Chivas.

Liga MX coaching carousel

While Wednesday’s games were being played, we learned that Mazatlán had fired coach Beñat San José, the sixth Liga MX manager sacked this season. The Cañoneros are in 15th place after Tuesday’s scoreless home draw against Necaxa.

At the same time, Monterrey announced the return of “King Midas.” Víctor Manuel Vucetich returns to the scene of some of his greatest triumphs where he will replace Javier Aguirre as Rayados coach.

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Vucetich coached Monterrey from 2009-2013, leading the northern giants to two Liga MX titles and three consecutive Concacaf Champions League trophies. He’ll take the reins in time to manage the club when last-place América pays a visit Saturday.