FC Juárez continues its climb toward respectability and América’s Henry Martín extended his lead atop the goal-scoring chart as a Liga MX Midweek Matchday kicked off with a triple header on Tuesday night.
The Bravos survived the cauldron that is “El Volcán” and emerged with a draw, blanking the powerful Tigres to earn a huge road point.
Granted, Hernán Cristante’s team (with four former Tigres playing the entire 90 minutes), basically parked the proverbial bus in front of their goalie Alfredo Talavera, but they got what they came for. But it was nerve-wracking as a Luis Quiñones goal was annulled and André-Pierre Gignac hit the woodwork twice.
FC Juárez has finished in the Relegation Zone each of the previous three years but after seven games this season, the Bravos are in 6th place in the Liga MX table. A performance like Tuesday night in a venue as brutal as “El Volcán” could prove to be a confidence-builder.
Henry all alone in 10th place on América all-time list
In San Luis Potosí, the Aguilas overpowered the Tuneros 3-1 and are now unbeaten in their past 19 regular-season Liga MX matches.
In minute 10, Henry Martín was the beneficiary of a nifty passing sequence that led to his 8th goal of the season.
On the left side of midfield, Álvaro Fidalgo redirected a pass from Richard Sánchez onto the feet of an overlapping Jonathan Rodríguez who raced passed his marker and fed a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Martín as he ran into the box. Martín fired a low left-footer that eluded Marcelo Barovero to put América ahead 1-0 in minute 10.
Leo Bonatini equalized in minute 34 but the Aguilas retook the lead in minute 45+4 when Miguel Layun sent a long cross from the right flank that bounced behind the Tuneros’ back line where it was met by Diego Valdés at the back post.
Just after the hour mark, Henry had time and space to measure a soft clearance just outside the box and he blasted a right-footed volley past a diving Barovero.
With that, “La Bomba” moved to 9 goals on the season and leads the Liga MX scoring race by 4. At the same time, Henry moved past Gonzalo Farfán into 10th place on the Aguilas’ all-time goal-scoring list with 77.
‘The Green Machine’ revs up
León won the Nicolás Larcamón sweepstakes this winter and the new coach finally seems to have gotten the Esmeraldas to understand his tactics.
After a slow start to the season, “La Fiera” has won two in a row (granted against teams in the bottom third of the Liga MX standings) and has climbed provisionally into 5th place.
Larcamón – a much-in-demand coach while leading a modest Puebla team to the playoffs four seasons in a row – watched as León defeated his former team 2-0 in a hard-fought contest.
The Esmeraldas dominated long stretches of the game but could not find a way past Antony Silva (the Paraguay international keeper made 10 saves on the night) until Lucas Di Yorio took a lovely feed from Álvaro Dávila and blasted a shot inside the far post from a sharp angle.
León put the game away in minute 82 just 1 minute after Puebla’s Guillermo Martínez was ejected for insulting the referee. Paul Bellón nodded home from close range off a corner kick that was headed back into the middle of the box by Stiven Barreiro.
Elsewhere in Liga MX
Tigres and América remain the only two unbeaten Liga MX teams. Tigres are momentarily in 1st place with a 4-3-0 record, even with cross-town rivals Monterrey who host 16th-place place Querétaro on Wednesday.
América is now 3-4-0 good for 13 points and 3rd place, even with reigning Liga MX champions Pachuca who visit last-place Mazatlán FC on Thursday.
Matchday 7 continues Wednesday night with another triple-header (Monterrey-Querétaro, Chivas-Tijuana, Necaxa-Pumas) and the Mazatlán-Pachuca match on Thursday. The two other Matchday 7 games are scheduled for next week.