Cruz Azul forced to move across town to play host to Guadalajara

After Cementeros-Chivas, Toluca-Tigres and UNAM-Monterrey highlight Liga MX weekend schedule

Cruz Azul will have their hands full with Guadalajara playmaker Roberto Alvarado who helped the Cementeros win the Liga MX title three years ago.
Cruz Azul will have their hands full with Guadalajara playmaker Roberto Alvarado who helped the Cementeros win the Liga MX title three years ago. / Simon Barber/GettyImages
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Matchday 10 kicks off with a triple-header on Friday night but the best Liga MX action this weekend will take place on Saturday night at Estadio Azteca with an equally attractive match at UNAM on Sunday.

None of Friday’s three games involve a team higher than No. 9 in the Liga MX standings although Necaxa’s visit to Mazatlán is interesting if only to see if the Rayos – this season’s Cinderella team – can remain unbeaten. “Los electricistas” are 3-6-0 and in 9th place after finishing the Apertura 2023 dead last.

Tigres might need offensive outburst at Toluca

Saturday’s menu of matches begins with Toluca doing battle against Tigres in “El Infierno.” Tigres is just 1 point off the lead, but sits in 5th place behind crosstown rivals Monterrey (19 points), Cruz Azul (19), Pachuca (19) and América (18). 

“Los felinos” are struggling to score but are doing so opportunistically. Tigres has been held to 1 goal four times, but have not lost a single one of those games, winning 1-0 twice and earning 1-1 draws on a pair of occasions.

Toluca (16) is one slot behind their Saturday guests, and their contests tend to feature goals aplenty. In five of the club’s nine games, the ball has found the net at least four times. The Diablos Rojos are second in Liga MX with 19 goals.

Cementeros reluctantly return to Estadio Azteca

The marquee match of the weekend follows immediately after the clash in Toluca when Cruz Azul welcomes Guadalajara to Estadio Azteca. You read that right … Estadio Azteca.

A week after losing to América at "El Coloso de Santa Úrsula," the Cementeros will be calling Estadio Azteca home for a night.

Cruz Azul is prevented from using “Estadio Azul” on Saturday because Alejandro Fernández is giving a concert in the Plaza México bullring right next door and Mexico City laws forbid simultaneous events in contiguous venues.

The club sought permission from Liga MX HQ to change kick-off time, but the men in pants – and their media partners – preferred to maintain the 7:05 pm start. Cementeros management asked Televisa – co-sponsors of the concert – if they might help, but that request was quickly denied.

“La Máquina” had no choice but to move their game to Estadio Azteca and now it looks like the Cementeros-Chivas match might set the season’s attendance record (especially since the América-Chivas clásico takes place at Guadalajara’s smaller Estadio Akron).

The benefits from the sell-out crowd won’t go into Cruz Azul’s pockets, however. Televisa – the owner of the stadium as well as majority owner of Club América – will rake in most of the ticket revenues. Yep … a win-win for the media giant.

As for Saturday’s game, Guadalajara must avoid looking ahead to the “Super Clásico” series that begins on Wednesday. After Cruz Azul, “El Rebaño Sagrado” plays three of its next four games against América.

The Chivas faces the Aguilas at home on March 6 in a Concacaf Cup Round of 16 match, at the Azteca on March  13, then back to Estadio Akron for a Matchday 12 “Super Clásico.” It’ll be great fun for Liga MX fans, but exhausting for the two bitter rivals.

Monterrey looking for result at CU to stay top of Liga MX table

Sunday’s top match has league-leading Monterrey paying a visit to 7th-place UNAM (15).

The Rayados are coming off a listless performance at Tijuana, scoring late to save a draw against the 16th-place Xolos.

The Pumas came up short against Guadalajara, their six-game unbeaten streak crashing to a halt with a 3-1 loss in which they were thoroughly outplayed.

UNAM was hit with more injury news heading into the weekend. Midfielder Ricardo Galindo has been unable to recover from a knock to the knee last weekend and he will be sidelined along with midfield mate José Caicedo, winger Robert Ergas and forward Rogelio Funes Mori.

Next. Mexico fans on cloud nine after El Tri Feminil defeats USWNT. Mexico fans on cloud nine after El Tri Feminil defeats USWNT. dark

The Rayados are relatively healthy a season after injuries wrecked their title hopes but they will arrive to the CU with heavy legs having played on Wednesday in Tijuana.