No Gignac; no problem for Tigres.
The defending champs traveled to Guadalajara for a Finals rematch without the Flying Frenchman, their leading scorer. The Chivas were hoping for some payback after Tigres celebrated their eighth Liga MX title on their home ground.
Unfortunately for Guadalajara, Gignac’s understudy is former Liga MX scoring champ Nicolás Ibáñez and Nico scored a first-half brace then added an assist on his team’s fourth goal.
As Chivas fans booed, chanted and cursed, Guadalajara seemed helpless against Tigres and Saturday’s 4-0 loss could have a more deleterious effect than did that gut-wrenching overtime loss exactly five months ago.
Tigres apply a mauling
Ibáñez converted two fantastic Luis Quiñones helpers, the first coming when the duo teamed up to force a Chivas mistake at the back. Nico banged home the second in minute 53 before and closed out his accounts with a picture-perfect assist on Marcelo Flores’ first Liga MX goal.
In spite of the 4-0 spanking – their second such negative scoreline this season – the Chivas sit in sixth place, but their recent form (and the locker room turmoil) does not inspire confidence that another long playoff run is in the cards.
With three games remaining, the Chivas (21 points) must figure out how to right the ship in order to hold onto a Top 6 seed and the first-round playoff bye that would come with it.
As for Tigres (28 points), the Northerners clinched a postseason berth with the win and could secure a Top 6 seed if Sunday’s results go their way
League leaders rout Rayados
A rampant América ran roughshod over Monterrey, emphatically ending the Rayados’ three-game winning streak that had seen them climb into third place.
Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez scored twice in the game’s first 21 minutes, the second coming just 3 minutes after Rayados midfielder Maxi Meza was red-carded for an unintentional stamp on América defender Sebastián Cáceres.
This game was over early and the Aguilas (33 points) clinched a first-round playoff bye as Andre Jardine’s men – on a 13-game unbeaten streak – can finish no worse than fourth place.
Álvaro Fidalgo took over the playmaker’s role in the absence of the injured Diego Valdés. The Spaniard unlocked the Monterrey defense just 60 seconds into the match with a perfectly weighted through pass to Henry Martín, then added a brilliant assist on Cabecita’s second just 20 minutes later.
Martín – playing alone at the point of attack after Julián Quiñones failed a fitness test on Thursday – supplied the assists on América’s first and third goals, both of which were nifty feeds.
The Aguilas offense was a constant menace throughout and gave the the short-handed Rayados fits.
Monterrey (23 points) maintains a firm grip on third place and, with a game in hand, will be hoping that key players currently in sick bay – particularly Sergio Canales – can get healthy in time for the postseason.