Cruz Azul won its third straight game to keep its bounce-back season on track, the 3-1 victory lifting “La Máquina” into the top 4 pending the weekend’s results.
The Cementeros scored three goals in the final 16 minutes of the first half after falling behind to Querétaro early, but Martín Anselmi’s squad wasted innumerable opportunities to turn the game into a rout.
Cruz Azul dominated the match, but lacked a killer instinct, while Gallos Blancos goalie Fernando Tapia kept the home side in the match with 7 saves, several of which were of the spectacular variety.
Lest Cementeros Nation gets too giddy about the result, the victory was more about a notable talent gap as well as the tactical shortcomings demonstrated by Querétaro.
The lack of precision, both passing and shooting – twice, Cruz Azul muffed scoring chances with players in alone on Tapia, both times failing to get the ball on net – should be a concern, especially as the toughest part of the Cementeros’ schedule is in front of them.
Battle among Liga MX cellar-dwellers
In Friday's other Matchday 5 contest, last-place Puebla hosted 17th-place Mazatlán FC. In an outcome fitting of a game between the worst two Liga MX teams, there were two own-goals, 27 fouls and a red card.
Puebla defeated the Cañoneros 3-2 with new strike tandem Lucas Cavallini and Santiago Ormeño getting on the scoreboard. Both forwards are in their first season back with Puebla since each departing in 2019.
With the win, "La Franja" climbs out of the Liga MX basement and into 14th place with 4 points, while Mazatlán replaced Puebla in last place with 1 point from five games.
Champs get a scare
América will be without star striker Henry Martín for up to three weeks, but it could have been much worse.
Martín – the league MVP two seasons ago – limped off the pitch at halftime last weekend and initial fears were that he suffered a Lisfranc fracture. As it turned out, “La Bomba” only suffered a sprained foot.
As it is, Martín will miss Saturday’s big 1 vs 2 showdown against league-leading Monterrey, the club’s Matchday 6 contest against León and América’s Concacaf Champions League match against Nicaragua’s Real Esteli.
Liga MX coaching carousel
After falling to 0-1-3 last Sunday, FC Juárez sacked Diego Mejía, the first casualty of the Clausura 2024 season.
Bravos management has yet to identify a new boss, so will host Necaxa on Saturday with Antonio Torres Servín serving as interim manager.
Mejía lasted just 21 games, posting a 5-4-12 mark with a –14 goal differential (25 goals for, 39 goals against).