Pumas, Rayados and Tigres do just enough to win
Sunday’s Liga MX triple-header worked overtime to provide three new definitions of listless.
All three matches were 1-0 affairs – host UNAM edging Necaxa, visiting Monterrey slipping past Atlético de San Luis, and Tigres dominating Tijuana but only finding the net once.
The Monterrey victory was besmirched by ref Fernando Guerrero who contrived – with the help of VAR – to uncover a risible penalty.
In minute 80 of a scoreless game, after VAR alerted him to the potential violation, Guerrero harshly interpreted the hand ball rule (a poorly deflected header banged off an adjacent defender’s slightly extended arm). Rogelio Funes Mori made no mistake from the spot.
A couple minutes later, Guerrero missed a clear foul near the top of the box that would have given Atlético de San Luis a free kick from close range. The infraction was so obvious that Monterrey defender César Montes immediately pointed outside the box to indicate his (acknowledged) foul on Jhon Murillo was not a penalty.
Guerrero called nothing, then a few minutes later ejected San Luis coach André Jardine who was loudly griping about the blown call.
Sunday’s other two games featured scoring plays that could qualify for Liga MX Goal of the Year. On a set piece, UNAM’s Adrián Aldrete ripped home a left-footed volley directly off a corner kick and the Pumas held off the modest Rayos attack to claim the win.
In the nightcap, Tigres youngster Raymundo Fulgencio thumped home the winner in minute 77, stepping into a weakly headed clearance and smashing a right-footer just inside the short-side post.
The less said about these three games the better though officiating will be an ongoing discussion point especially for San Luis fans.
Matchday 3 concludes Monday night as Pachuca welcomes Mazatlán FC to Estadio Hidalgo.
Other Liga MX news
OK, so I lied about not talking further about Sunday’s Liga MX action.
Alarm bells sounded in the first half for Monterrey as new acquisition Rodrigo Aguirre hobbled off injured, just one week after fellow newbie Joao Rojas was lost for the season with a serious knee injury. Aguirre’s issue appeared less severe but the former Necaxa goleador had scored in each of Monterrey’s first two matches so Rayados supporters will hope it is just a knock.
In Mexico City, striker Gonzalo Carneiro is set to join Cruz Azul from Uruguay’s Liverpool. The 26-year-old is just the second transfer brought in by the Cementeros but coach Diego Aguirre is fuming that his request for a young central defender remains unfulfilled.
Pachuca academy product Daniel Aceves was formally introduced as the newest member of Real Oviedo in Spain’s second division. The 21-year-old won the left fullback spot last season and helped the Tuzos reach the Liga MX Finals. He also played on Mexico’s Under-23 side that won bronze at the Toulon tournament last month.
Rumors were running rampant on social media claiming that Real Oviedo is also hunting for a midfielder in Mexico. A TV Azteca report indicates that Pachuca’s Erick Sánchez and midfield mate Víctor Guzmán are potential targets.