Defending champion Tigres failed to keep pace with league-leading América, conceding a stoppage time equalizer to 10-man Toluca, while Cruz Azul climbed out of the basement with a 3-1 win over Necaxa.
Tigres will remain in second place because Atlético de San Luis’ Matchday 11 fixture against sixth-place FC Juárez was rescheduled for later this month. The champs have 21 points from 11 games (6-3-2), 3 behind Liga MX-best América’s 24 (7-3-1) and 2 points better than the Tuneros (6-1-3).
As for Cruz Azul, Angel Sepúlveda scored twice late – a penalty in 90+2’ and again 8 minutes later (yes, 8 minutes later) – to lift the Cementeros to a 3-1 over a woeful Rayos team.
“La Máquina Azul” (11 points) climbed from 18th place up to 14th with the win while Necaxa returned to the cellar (8 points) with just 1 win from 11 matches.
Tigres prove maxim ‘On any given Liga MX matchday …’
Tigres appeared to have sewn up a third consecutive win when the short-handed Diablos Rojos came up with a stunning strike when “los felinos” simply fell asleep.
Four minutes into stoppage time, Toluca goalie Tiago Volpi sent a long free kick into the box where his teammates outnumbered Tigres defenders who had failed to hustle into position. Tomás Belmonte chested the ball down and a lurking Robert Morales bundled it past Nahuel Guzmán and the Diablos stole a point.
The champs had dominated the second half, forcing several tough saves from Volpi (he had 5 saves on the night) and saw two goals annulled for offside.
Toluca had gone a man down in minute 45+2 just as they had found their stride, flowing forward in waves only to be denied by Guzmán. The Liga MX champs scored off the resulting free kick to knot things up heading into the break.
The Diablos Rojos had taken the lead in minute 44 when Claudio Baeza stripped Rafa Carioca just outside the Tigres box. Baeza turned and fired, the ball clanged off the left post right to Marcel Ruiz who calmly redirected the ball into the net.
“El Volcán” was in a steady uproar throughout the second half as the home side threw everything forward and Toluca sat back in hopes of preserving the draw. In minute 76, André-Pierre Gignac put Tigres ahead but the champs kept pressing the attack.
No doubt, coach Robert Siboldi will scold his squad for failing to get back to cover the late free kick, an unforgivable lapse in concentration for a veteran team.
Other Matchday 11 results
An overachieving Pumas side continues to surprise Liga MX pundits, stomping a decent Querétaro team 4-0 with two goals on either side of the break. The visiting Gallos Blancos had shown promise this season after finishing last in the Liga MX Relegation Standings last year.
UNAM now sits in fourth place with 18 points, one spot above Toluca (15 points). Juan Ignacio Dinenno contributed a brace to climb back into the Liga MX scoring race with 5 goals.
In Torreón, Coahuila, Santos Laguna edged visiting Tijuana with striker Harold Preciado and defender Félix Torres finding the net for the home side. Preciado broke the tie atop the Liga MX scorers list – the Colombian now has 8 goals – moving above Tijuana’s Carlos Rodríguez. Tigres ace Gignac is third with 6 goals.
Liga MX notes
Monterrey midfielder Sergio Canales has gone to Los Angeles in search of a second opinion after Rayados team doctors diagnosed a quad injury that would sideline the Spain international for several weeks.
According to ESPN, the Spaniard is traveling to see a specialist in hopes of accelerating his return to the pitch. In his first season in Liga MX, Canales leads the Rayados with 3 goals.