Much at stake for León, Puebla in season finales
Sunday’s Liga MX schedule is thin – just two games – but both contests have playoff implications. León must defeat FC Juárez at the Camp Nou to claim the final available spot, while Puebla visits Cruz Azul with the chance to clinch a place in the quarterfinals.
If the Esmeraldas beat the visiting Bravos, they would knock Pachuca out of 10th place and earn up to two home games in the Play-In Tournament as the No. 7 seed.
“La Fiera” must end a four-game winless streak to get into the postseason and as they’ll be facing the second-leakiest defense in Liga MX (FC Juárez has conceded 32 goals), the home team will be urged to score early and often by their often-raucous fans at the rickety, 56-year-old stadium.
To emerge with the must-needed victory, León must shore up its defense which was dinged for 5 goals last week by Puebla.
Speaking of the Camoteros, they’ll take the pitch at Estadio Azteca knowing their season will not come to an end on Sunday.
“La Franja” currently sits in 9th place and can finish no worse than 10th which is good enough for a spot in the Play-In Tournament.
A draw would guarantee Puebla enters the mini-tourney no worse than 9th while a win over the hapless Cementeros would boost the Camoteros to the No. 6 seed, sending them directly to the quarterfinal round.
Final Liga MX regular-season weekend full of drama
Upset wins by Mazatlán FC and Santos Laguna allowed those two clubs to extend their season, and Pachuca’s stunning 3-2 road win at Tijuana eliminated the Xolos.
Mazatlán FC took advantage of Toluca’s late-season collapse to steal a 1-0 win over the visiting Diablos Rojos. As a result, the Cañoneros climbed into 7th place while Toluca was in a precarious 9th place.
When Santos Laguna stifled Atlético de San Luis 2-0 on Saturday, the Guerreros soared into 7th, bumping Mazatlán into 8th, pushing Toluca into 10th and knocking Cruz Azul and FC Juárez out of contention.
Erick Sánchez played the hero on Friday night for Pachuca, registering a natural hat-trick to kneecap Tijuana. That lifted the Tuzos into 10th place (pending the outcome of the León-FC Juárez match), pulling the rug out from under Toluca, an embarrassing fall from grace for the Diablos Rojos who lost three straight to close out the Apertura 2023.
The confirmed playoff seedings thus far are as follows: 1. América; 2. Monterrey; 3. the defending champion Tigres; 4. UNAM; and, 5. Guadalajara.