Atlético de San Luis shows intent; Mazatlán FC in free-fall

Atlético de San Luis players celebrate after defeating Puebla in a Thursday night Liga MX match. (Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images)
Atlético de San Luis players celebrate after defeating Puebla in a Thursday night Liga MX match. (Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images) /
Liga MX M5 first
FC Juárez teenager Denzel Garcia (#25) celebrates with teammates after scoring his first Liga MX goal, helping his Bravos defeat Mazatlán FC. (Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images) /

We are already three games into Matchday 5 of the Clausura 2023, but the more attractive Liga MX games remain on the weekend calendar.

Holders Pachuca visit León in a Saturday matinée, newly minted Liga MX title favorites Tigres then takes on Cruz Azul at Estadio Azteca after which América faces Santos Laguna.

Pumas-Atlas, Chivas-Querétaro and Monterrey-Toluca are the Sunday offering.

The three games in the books already featured five teams in the bottom half of the Liga MX table, so we’ll just offer a brief glance at the results and await this afternoon’s kick-off in Guanajuato.

Tuneros show playoff pretensions

In San Luis Potosí on Thursday night, the hosts did just enough to hold off a Puebla team in decline.

Javier Güemez provided the only goal Atlético de San Luis needed in minute 54 but the Tuneros were gifted another in stoppage time, courtesy of an own-goal by Emanuel Gularte.

The Tuneros climbed seven rungs into fourth place with 8 points (2-2-1) while the Camoteros – a team that was stripped for parts in the winter window – sits in 15th.

Friday’s double-header was painful to watch as Necaxa and Tijuana battled to a 1-1 draw with the host Rayos netting both goals.

Just 1 minute after kick-off, Necaxa defender Juan Pablo Segovia redirected a Xolos cross right over the head of his goalie, Hugo González and the Rayos were chasing the game before even having had a chance to loosen up.

The Xolos were denied a second goal at the hour mark after Alexis Canelo was correctly ruled offside and Necaxa took advantage a few minutes later when Agustín Oliveros powered a header across the face of goal and past a lunging José Antonio Rodríguez. Bryan Garnica provided the assist with a lovely chipped cross from the touch line.

The less said about Friday’s nightcap the better, but here goes. Last-place Mazatlán FC sank deeper into the Liga MX cellar with a 3-2 loss to visiting FC Juárez.

The game was a festival of mistakes enhanced by disinterested refereeing from Marco Antonio Ortiz. Errant passes and clanky traps that saw ball skitter away from offending feet were a common sight, but there were a few highlights.

In minute 14, 19-year-old Denzel García opened the scoring for FC Juárez and his first Liga MX goal was a thing of beauty – a curling left-footed shot from outside the box that nestled into the netting inside the far post.

The hosts tied it up just before the half but the winless Cañoneros were done in by atrocious defending after the break.

In minute 69, Tomás Molina had time and space inside the box to trap, touch, turn, then shoot before any Mazatlán player could get in his way.

Seven minutes later, Mauro Lainez embarrassed the Mazatlán defense. Facing a double-team wide left, Lainez pushed the ball between Bryan Colula and Enrique Cedillo who collided, allowing the FC Juárez winger to loop around them and race into the box in pursuit of the ball, getting to the sphere before the onrushing Nicolás Vikonis and poking it into the net from a sharp angle.

Mazatlán got a consolation goal in minute 90+6 for the final margin.

Liga MX coaching carousel spinning already

Mazatlán FC was coached by interim manager Christián Ramírez last night. Ramírez was standing in for Gabriel Caballero who was sacked after the Cañoneros were destroyed 6-0 by América last weekend.

Next. Liga MX transfer window slams shut. dark

Rubén Omar Romano – a familiar face to long-time Liga MX fans – is the heir apparent. The 64-year-old Argentine is set to return to a Liga MX sideline for the first time in nearly five years (he was fired by Atlas in March 2018). The Mazatlán job will be his 14th in Mexico.