The last unbeaten Liga MX team fell Saturday night and they fell hard, while table-topping Monterrey won to extend its advantage atop the standings.
América took the field at Estadio Azteca with a sparkling 4-5-0 record and a league-leading 21 goals.
Ninety minutes later, a dejected Aguilas squad trudged off the pitch to scattered boos, 3-0 losers to defending Liga MX champs.
Pachuca came into the game on a two-game skid, tumbling from second to sixth while giving up nearly as many goals (14) as they conceded all of last season (15, second-fewest among Liga MX defenses).
Tuzos survive early storm, answer with three crackin’ goals
América attacked quickly, creating three scoring chances in the first 3 minutes of the match. Then, bing-bang-boom and the ball was in the back of the net, “Chofis” López the beneficiary of a brilliant Tuzos move in which he participated in the build-up.
Six minutes later, Avilés Hurtado laid off a brilliant no-look pass that “El Primo” Hernández powered between Oscar Jiménez’s legs from a sharp angle and it was 2-0 Pachuca.
The Aguilas then saw two goals annulled (the first for a handball off a corner kick), the second on a controversial offside call.
While the hosts were still feeling aggrieved, Roberto de la Rosa raced onto a rebound that Jiménez had spilled and banged it into the net. 3-0 Tuzos. And a half-hour had not gone by yet. And the Aguilas faithful was now booing Jiménez every time he touched the ball.
América put up a good fight for a while, but the final 20 minutes of the match were just protocol.
The Liga MX champs have moved into third place momentarily, while América will remain sixth.
Meanwhile, atop the Liga MX standings …
Monterrey has not experienced defeat since the season opener, and the host Rayados coasted to a 3-0 win over FC Juárez, moving to 9-1-1.
Defenders Víctor Guzmán and Stefan Medina had Monterrey up 2-0 just past the hour mark and striker Rogelio Funes Mori put the nail in the coffin in minute 82. Funes Mori now has 8 goals, second-best in Liga MX (América’s Henry Martín has 10).
The Rayados’ 24 points has them 3 clear of crosstown rivals Tigres, a 1-0 winner at Necaxa on Friday night. FC Juárez sits in ninth place with 11 points.
Elsewhere around Liga MX …
- León scored twice in second-half stoppage time to come away with a 2-0 win against visiting Atlético de San Luis. With the win, the Esmeraldas strengthened their hold on seventh place and they have a game in hand (against last-place Mazatlán FC on March 24).
- Monterrey’s Víctor Guzmán was not the only Víctor Guzmán to score Saturday night. In Guadalajara, “El Pocho” Guzmán headed home a Roberto Alvarado cross to put the Chivas ahead of Santos Laguna in minute 17. “El Rebaño Sagrado” went on to defeat the Guerreros 2-0, climbing into third pending Toluca’s result Sunday at Querétaro.
- Cruz Azul midfielder Erik Lira appears to be a summer target for Italy’s Udinese. The 22-year-old started his Liga MX career with UNAM and is in his third season with the Cementeros where he has latched onto the starting defensive midfield spot.
- Pachuca forward Roberto de la Rosa was set to be relegated to the bench, his lack of productivity (2 goals in nine games) but after he was invited to Diego Cocca’s first El Tri training camp, Tuzos coach Guillermo Almada rewarded him with the start … and man did he respond. The 23-year-old Texcoco native assisted “Chofis” López in minute 4 with a nifty side-heel back pass, then tallied his third of the Clausura 2023 in minute 29.