Tigres leapfrog rivals Monterrey into first place

Tigres players celebrate Jordy Caicedo's first goal in Liga MX. Caicedo (holding the ball) scored the winner in the Tigres' 2-1 victory. (Photo by JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Tigres players celebrate Jordy Caicedo's first goal in Liga MX. Caicedo (holding the ball) scored the winner in the Tigres' 2-1 victory. (Photo by JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images) /
Liga MX tigres first
Dani Alves got his first taste of the cauldron that is the Estadio CU on Sundays when the Pumas play their Liga MX home games at noon. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Tigres emerges from Matchday 6 at the top of the Liga MX table, replacing crosstown rivals Monterrey who were held at UNAM on Sunday afternoon. Toluca will hold onto third place with Tijuana a surprise Top 4 inclusion.

Despite finishing the game with nine men, Tigres earned a scrappy 2-1 win over visiting Querétaro Saturday night, their fifth straight victory. The result extended the Gallos Blancos’ road winless streak to 40 games.

Nico López opened the scoring for the hosts in minute 19 before a reckless challenge by Igor Lichnovsky sent Querétaro to the penalty spot where Ariel Nahuelpan evened the score.

Jordy Caicedo knocked home his first Liga MX goal in minute 66 to provide the winning margin for the Tigres, but was shown red 5 minutes later. Juan Pablo Vigón followed him to the showers 13 minutes later but Querétaro was unable to find the equalizer.

Pumas remain unbeaten but …

Monterrey took the field at high noon in Mexico City aiming to reclaim first place, but UNAM drew first blood when left back Jero Rodríguez sent a laser inside the far post from 25 meters.

The Pumas barely had time to celebrate, however, as captain Sebastián Freire misdirected a free kick into his own net at minute 45+3, taking the wind out of UNAM’s sails.

The Rayados are the highest-scoring team in Liga MX (12 goals in six matches), but they could not create scoring opportunities. The Pumas defense smothered Monterrey’s playmakers and allowed just a single shot on goal and that didn’t come until minute 90+6.

UNAM thought it had taken the lead in the second half on a Juan Ignacio Dinenno volley inside the box but a VAR review wiped the goal off the scoreboard.

The 1-1 result left the Pumas as the lone unbeaten team in Liga MX, but with only one victory (1-5-0) “los felinos” are stuck down in eighth place.

Andrés Lillini has a deeper roster this season and are much stronger in attack, but so far UNAM has not been able to capitalize.

Dating back to last season, the Pumas have won just two of their past 12 (2-6-4) since defeating these same Rayados at the CU back on April 17. If Lillini and Co hope to exceed the results of last season’s overachievers (Concacaf Champions League finalists and Liga MX wildcard berth), their new strike force is going to have to start delivering.

Elsewhere in Liga MX

Cruz Azul won at Estadio Azteca for the first time in eight games on Saturday night, defeating Necaxa by the slimmest of margin. Doing the honors for the Cementeros was Iván Morales who stepped into Santiago Giménez’s starting position with aplomb.

Morales scored his first Liga MX goal in his 22nd appearance with “La Máquina,” netting in minute 38 for the lone score of the match.

In Guadalajara, newly acquired striker Santi Ormeño was greeted by Chivas fans with boos in his debut at Estadio Akron on Saturday night against Pachuca.

Guadalajara played the final 47 minutes with a man advantage and were granted a penalty kick in minute 75, but still failed to put the ball in the net, extending their home scoreless streak to 396 minutes. That will definitely bring out the boo birds.

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The Chivas are winless after six matches (0-1-5) and have scored just three times, putting manager Ricardo Cadena at risk of becoming the first coaching casualty of the season.