Junior Classic, ‘Clásico Tapatío’ set stage for Copa de México final

The Chivas will square off against crosstown rivals Atlas in a preseason "Clasico Tapatío." (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
The Chivas will square off against crosstown rivals Atlas in a preseason "Clasico Tapatío." (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Copa Clasicos
América last faced Cruz Azul back in August and the Aguilas pounded the Cementeros 7-0. “La Máquina” would like nothing better than to approach the new Liga MX season with a bit of revenge. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

As we expected all along, tonight’s “Clásico Joven” survivor will represent Group A in the Copa por México final though the standings are a bit more crowded than was thought likely.

Cruz Azul needs only a draw against their nemesis América to claim first place in the group while the Aguilas must defeat the Cementeros to set up a “Super Clásico” on Dec. 30.

In Group B, Guadalajara will tangle with crosstown rivals Atlas giving new Chivas coach Vlejko Paunovic his first taste of the Jalisco rivalry. “El Rebaño Sagrado” has already clinched their spot in the Copa final, but they would like nothing more than to maintain their perfect record (3-0-0) and knock the Zorros down a peg or two.

Kicking off the Copa triple header, Tigres and Santos Laguna will square off in the final preseason match for the two Liga MX title hopefuls.

Liga MX transactions

Monterrey and El Tri defender César Montes finally got his wish. The 25-year-old back-liner is in Barcelona where he will join LaLiga side Espanyol on a loan deal though the “Periquitos” are expected to finalize the purchase at the end of the season.

Montes came up through the Rayados system, making his Liga MX debut back in 2015 as an 18-year-old.

The Hermosillo native becomes the third Monterrey product to leave Liga MX for Europe, following in the footsteps of Javier “El Abuelo” Cruz (LaLiga’s Logroñes, in 1988) and Jesús “Tecatito” Corona (Twente FC in Holland, in 2013). Corona currently plays for Sevilla and the two Liga MX graduates could face off on May 3.

Back in Liga MX, Guadalajara announced the departure of forward Ángel Zaldívar who was transferred to Atlético de San Luis as he was considered surplus to needs.

Zaldívar, 28, has been a Chivas starter the past two seasons but his lack of productivity (4 goals in 14 games last season and 0 goals in the Liga MX playoffs) led new GM Fernando Hierro to look for alternatives.

Suárez spurns Cruz Azul; Chivas chasing title No. 13. dark. Next

Daniel Ríos will take Zaldívar’s spot on the roster as Guadalajara acquired their former academy player from MLS club Charlotte FC. Ríos, 27, did not make a Liga MX debut while with the Chivas, toiling in second division for two years before migrating to the United States.