América survives Tijuana upset bid; Toluca wins it late vs. champs

Edgar López knocks the ball into the net to give Toluca an early lead against the defending Liga MX champs. The Diablos Rojos defeated Pachuca 2-1. (Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images)
Edgar López knocks the ball into the net to give Toluca an early lead against the defending Liga MX champs. The Diablos Rojos defeated Pachuca 2-1. (Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images) /
Liga MX M8 Sunday
Diego Valdés watches as his shot bounds into the net to give América a 2-0 lead against Tijuana in Sunday night Liga MX action. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Aguilas hold on against 10-man Tijuana

América returned to third in the Liga MX standings after a harder-than-it-should-have-been 2-1 win over Tijuana.

The Aguilas absolutely dominated the first half and the Xolos were lucky to be down only 1-0 after 45 minutes.

Tijuana keeper Toño Rodríguez came up with three spectacular saves in the first 30 minutes and defender Lisandro López deflected a shot that was headed for the back of the net.

Then in minute 40, Leo Suárez sent a swerving free kick from 25 meters that fooled Rodríguez and América led 1-0. A genuine golazo.

Seven minutes after the restart, Henry Martín shielded his marker near midfield and collected a long pass, then raced down the right channel before sending a perfectly weighted pass to Diego Valdés who was breaking down the left channel. Valdés tapped the ball home for a 2-1 lead.

That was the third helper of the season for Henry – top scorer in Liga MX with 9 goals – and the Aguilas skipper is now tied with eight others for the league lead in assists.

The game should have been over after Tijuana’s Misael Domínguez was shown a red card only 23 seconds after coming on as a substitute in minute 69, but América got a little careless.

In minute 81, the Aguilas were sniffing around for their third goal. Valdés spun past Xolos defender Nico Diáz inside the box but Diáz recovered spectacularly, springing a counterattack. Lucas Cavallini got free wide right deep into América’s half, then held up and squared a pass across the top of the box to Silvio Martínez. The diminutive Martínez blasted a left-footer that skims the inside of the near post and it was 2-1 with time left on the clock.

The Xolos presses on in attack mode and América seemed to get flustered. Luis Fuentes saved the Aguilas from conceding an embarrassing equalizer with a lunging block of a close-range shot by Carlos Valenzuela in minute 90+1.

A few minutes later, the whistle blew and Aguilas fans exhaled.

The win leaves América as one of only two undefeated Liga MX teams after eight weeks (Tigres are the other) and the Aguilas are now unbeaten in 20 regular-season matches.

Toluca triumphant in Liga MX Finals rematch

The Diablos Rojos got the tiniest measure of revenge Sunday night, scoring late to come away from Estadio Hidalgo with a 2-1 victory over holders Pachuca.

The outcome lifts Toluca into sixth place (12 points) with a game in hand while the Tuzos slip from second to fourth (16 points).

“Los Choriceros” needed the win after a slow start to the season and will be pleased with the result, but it does little to erase the sting of the 8-2 shellacking Pachuca handed them in last season’s Liga MX Final.

Toluca got on the board early after Pachuca’s Kevin Álvarez coughed up possession as he tried to dribble out of his zone. Toluca turned the gift into a goal with Edgar López doing the honors, tapping in a deflected cross from Maxi Araujo

After starting with an alternate line-up, Tuzos coach Guillermo Almada changed out his attack force at the hour mark, inserting four offensive-minded substitutes all in one go, and Pachuca started flooding forward.

In minute 79, Erick Sánchez picked Leo Fernández’s pocket, raced forward and took on five defenders, before momentarily losing the ball. The Pachuca midfielder recovered, surveyed the box area and floated a pass that was deflected to “Chofis” López who fired off a quick shot that bounced into the net.

The Liga MX champs had two other opportunities to score but the game appeared headed for a tie until they fell asleep in stoppage time. A Leo Fernández corner kick bounced inside the box as the Pachuca defense watched and Camilo Sanvezzo launched himself at the ball and headed it into the net to give Toluca the 2-1 victory.

Gallos Blancos 1, Cañoneros 1

With this result, the Liga MX’s cellar-dwelling teams remain winless after seven games. José Zúñiga put the hosts ahead in minute 37 and Nicolás Benedetti countered for Mazatlán FC 3 minutes after halftime.

dark. Next. Monterrey, Tigres sit 1-2 atop Liga MX table

The Gallos Blancos now have 4 points from a 0-4-3 record and remain in 17th place while the last-place Cañoneros picked up their first point of the season, “improving” to 0-1-6.