Feisty Chivas knock Monterrey from ranks of unbeaten; Toluca outscores Pachuca

Rayados fall into second place after first loss of Liga MX season, Diablos Rojos just 2 points back
Guadalajara's Roberto Alvarado was a nuisance yet again, putting pressure on the Monterrey defense and providing the assist on the clinching goal. The Chivas handed the Rayados their first loss of the season and knocked them off the top of the Liga MX leaderboard.
Guadalajara's Roberto Alvarado was a nuisance yet again, putting pressure on the Monterrey defense and providing the assist on the clinching goal. The Chivas handed the Rayados their first loss of the season and knocked them off the top of the Liga MX leaderboard. / Jam Media/GettyImages

And then there were none …

Guadalajara handed Monterrey its first loss of the season, aided by an ejection just before the half then clinching the win after the Rayados went down to nine men in minute 82. There are now no unbeaten teams in Liga MX.

Also Saturday night, Pachuca’s bid to be the Cinderella story of the Clausura 2024 took a hit as the Tuzos lost their third straight game, beaten at home by Toluca, their leaky defense to blame.

Meanwhile, in southern Mexico City, UNAM and Cruz Azul played to a scoreless draw, a result that helped neither team though it was more damaging to the host Pumas.

Rayados are Liga MX leaders no more

Guadalajara continued its mastery over the Rayados in Monterrey, extending its unbeaten run at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer to six games (4-2-0). The Chivas last lost at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer in August 2017.

The 2-0 loss saw Fernando Ortiz’s team fall out of first place, slipping behind reigning Liga MX champions América on goal differential. 

The Rayados did not look sharp and it’s possible Monterrey was caught looking ahead to Wednesday’s big clash against Lionel Messi and Inter Miami in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal match-up.

Midfield quarterback Sergio Canales was off his game, several times opting for no-look or back-heel passes that found the wrong jerseys.

Just before the half, left back Gerardo Arteaga lost his mind, throwing a monumental tantrum that earned him two quick yellow cards and an early shower.

Despite being a man down, the Rayados nearly drew first blood. Chivas goalie José Rangel dropped to the ground smartly to parry aside a bullet header from Monterrey’s Brandon Vazquez in minute 51.

Guadalajara took the lead with a fluke own-goal about 20 minutes later. Erick Gutiérrez made a nifty move in midfield to create space and he led Cade Cowell into the box on the left side. Goalie Esteban Andrada made a nice save on the sharp-angled shot, but the ball ricocheted off teammate Héctor Moreno’s knee and bounced into the Monterrey net.

A VAR-inspired red card in minute 81 wrapped things up for Guadalajara and Ricardo Marín put a bow on the Chivas’ 2-0 victory with a goal in stoppage time.

Coach Fernando Gago will hope the win can spark a positive stretch run for the Chivas who came into the game on a 1-3-2 streak. The win momentarily lifts Guadalajara into 8th place pending today’s results.

Top Liga MX offenses don’t disappoint

The two highest-scoring teams in the league met in Pachuca and the fireworks began early.

Just 3 minutes in, Emilio Rodríguez poked home a rebound from Tiago Volpi’s doorstep after the Toluca goalie allowed a sharp-angled shot to get past him at the near post.

It was basically downhill for Pachuca after that as the visiting Diablos Rojos put three behind Carlos Moreno before halftime and held on for a 3-2 victory.

Brian García answered for Toluca with a beauty of a volley in minute 13, before Toluca squandered took the lead after a VAR-assisted penalty call in minute 31. Pachuca’s Moreno actually stopped the first spot kick but was ruled to have been off his line (VAR, again).

With the reprieve, Volpi was able to keep alive his streak of never missing a penalty kick in Liga MX (the goalie/goleador is now 13 for 13) and Toluca led 2-1.

“Los Choriceros” extended their lead to 3-1 when Pachuca failed to clear the zone, allowing Toluca to collect rebounds at will as the Tuzos defense was in complete disarray. Alexis Vega finally slammed a shot off the underside of the crossbar.

Bryan González narrowed the deficit to a single goal in minute 82, but Pachuca could not find the equalizer. The Tuzos have now lost two straight at home after winning the their first five at Estadio Hidalgo.

Toluca remains third in the Liga MX table while Pachuca is in sixth. The Tuzos spent a couple weeks in first place in January and looked like a real contender after missing the Liga MX postseason party a season ago.

Mexico City rivals leave fans yawning

UNAM dropped points at home for a second consecutive game and last season’s semifinalist now finds itself wallowing in 10th place with just four matches remaining.

A Liga MX playoff spot is no longer a sure thing for the Pumas, who have not won since Feb. 18.

Cruz Azul appeared to have taken the lead in minute 5 when Pumas goalie Julio González fumbled a cross, the ball squirting between his legs and trickling over the goal line.

Fortunately for the Pumas, the side judge had his flag raised and Ignacio Rivero was properly called for offside, preventing an UNAM defender for making a play on the ball.

The Cementeros set a quick pace in the first half and enjoyed 62% possession but managed just one shot on net because their passing in the final third was erratic. Uriel Antuna was particularly wasteful, missing targets in the box repeatedly.

The host Pumas were the better team in the second half but could not break down the Cruz Azul defense, while “La Máquina” lost its ambition on offense. 

After conceding 3 goals in each of its preceding four games, UNAM was boosted by the return of José Caicedo who’d missed the previous seven contests. 

Caicedo stood tall in the middle of the pitch and helped keep Cruz Azul from finding space in the offensive third. But now UNAM has to rediscover offensive punch or its Liga MX postseason dreams will be shattered.


The Cementeros sit fifth in the Liga MX standings but they too have hit the skids, going 1-3-1 since a six-game win streak saw them rise to second place.