Atleti de San Luis continues to surprise; 133rd Clásico Regio on tap

Atlético de San Luis players had plenty to celebrate Friday night, defeating Mazatlán FC to climb back atop the Liga MX table. (Photo by Ricardo Hernandez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Atlético de San Luis players had plenty to celebrate Friday night, defeating Mazatlán FC to climb back atop the Liga MX table. (Photo by Ricardo Hernandez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
Liga MX San Luis tops
Monterrey and Tigres will resume their bitter rivalry on Saturday night in the 133rd running of the “Clásico Regiomontano,” arguably the most passionate derby in Liga MX. (Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Atlético de San Luis will wake up back in first place in Liga MX after holding off a Mazatlán FC comeback attempt. The 3-2 victory allows the Tuneros to leapfrog América after the Aguilas won a make-up game on Wednesday.

San Luis built a 3-0 lead and appeared to be cruising to victory but fell asleep late for the second consecutive week. An Ake Loba brace brought the Cañoneros within one goal and Gustavo Leal’s men barely held on to preserve their sixth win of the season.

Javier Güemez (18’), Leo Bonatini (45+4) and Vitinho (67) were the goal-scorers for the new Liga MX leaders, but the defense almost squandered the advantage and now coach Leal must address the issue of late-game collapses. Last week, Vitinho scored to put the Tuneros up 2-1 at UNAM in minute 81, but San Luis coughed up two goals thereafter.

With Friday night’s win, Atleti de San Luis reclaims its status as the Surprise Team of the Year, climbing to 19 points (6-1-2). The Tuneros already have more wins this season than last when then qualified for a wildcard berth with a 5-4-8 record.

Monterrey derby tops Liga MX weekend

While América (17 points) takes on Toluca (12) on Sunday with a chance to return to the top of the Liga MX mountain, Saturday night’s “Clásico Regiomontano” is the marquee game of Matchday 9.

Reigning Liga MX champs Tigres plays host to crosstown rivals Monterrey with the winner settling into third place.

Tigres enters the 133rd “Clásico Regio” coming off a surprising loss to Atlas while the Rayados arrive to “El Volcán” after a referee-aided 3-1 win over León.

Both of the Northern giants have underperformed this season as each team has been hit hard by injuries.

Monterrey is without its top three forwards while defender (and captain) Héctor Moreno is expected back after missing a pair of games. The Rayados will also be without supers Alí Ávila who is serving a one-game red-card suspension.

As for the champs, Liga MX Finals MVP Sebastián Córdova has struggled with fitness issues all season, striker André-Pierre Gignac has been forced to sit out four matches and playmaking winger Diego Lainez is battling a knee injury.

Both teams have plenty of depth, however (along with América, the two Nuevo León teams boast the deepest benches in Liga MX). Early indications suggest Córdova is prepared to start while Monterrey’s newest acquisition – Jesús “Tecatito” Corona is likely to help fill the gaping hole up front.

Tigres (14 points) currently sits in fifth place while the Rayados are next in line (13) with a game in hand. They are nipping at the heels of third-place FC Juárez (15) and Atlas (15). Atlas was a 2-1 winner over Juárez on Friday night.

Also Saturday, León (8) hosts Tijuana (11) while Pachuca (9) pays a visit to slumping Guadalajara (13).

Next. Once-dormant Liga MX giants re-emerge. dark

The América at Toluca match tops the Liga MX Sunday slate, with Cruz Azul-Querétaro and Santos Laguna-Necaxa closing out the Matchday 9 schedule.