Matchday 1: Plethora of late-game heroics makes up for paucity of scoring

Clausura 2024: Nearly half of all goals scored on Opening Weekend came in final minutes

Necaxa's Alan Montes (No. 23) exults after scoring the game-winner in minute 90+3. The Rayos had been losing 1-0 to Atlas until Ricardo Monreal (No. 30) equalized in minute 88.
Necaxa's Alan Montes (No. 23) exults after scoring the game-winner in minute 90+3. The Rayos had been losing 1-0 to Atlas until Ricardo Monreal (No. 30) equalized in minute 88. / Leopoldo Smith/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

New Liga MX season opens with surplus of fantastic finishes

Opening Weekend in Liga MX didn’t provide a glut of goals, but there sure were a lot of late fireworks. 

Only 16 goals were recorded across eight games (León and Tigres will complete Matchday 1 on Wednesday night) but seven of them came in minute 88 or later.

In the first game of the weekend, visiting Toluca overcame a 2-0 deficit and came away with a point at Querétaro on Friday night. Federico Pereira scored the tying goal for the Diablos Rojos in 90+6’.

The next night in Guadalajara, Erick Gutiérrez scored the equalizer for the Chivas in minute 90+9. What was surely most maddening for visiting Santos Laguna was that the ref had added only 7 minutes of extra time.

Later Saturday, Salvador Reyes scored twice late (89’ and 90+4’) to give defending champion América a 2-0 road win at Tijuana.

Meanwhile in Monterrey, Germán Berterame clinched a 2-0 win of its own for Monterrey with a nifty score in minute 90+4.

The goal came off a Puebla corner kick that resulted in a Rayados fire drill. Luis Romo led a 6-on-3 breakout, dribbling about 60 meters before laying off to the streaking Berterame in the right channel. The Argentine made no mistake, drilling a laser past Jesús “El Araña” Rodríguez. 

Necaxa contributed the final two last-gasp goals of the weekend, scoring twice against Atlas in the dying minutes to overturn a 1-0 deficit. 88’ and 90+3’). Ricardo Montreal nodded home in minute 88 to knot things up and defender Alan Montes powered a header past Camilo Vargas in 90+3’ to secure the victory for the Rayos.

Who's that atop the scoring chart?

América back-up Salvador Reyes is the unlikely “goleador” after Matchday 1. 

Reyes – whose last goal came in August 2022 – was the hero Saturday night in Tijuana as Aguilas coach André Jardine used a make-shift line-up in the season opener. 

Reyes, who had only 5 starts for the Liga MX champs last season, was among nine non-regulars to open the game against the Xolos as Jardine opted to give his stars another week off since the Aguilas claimed the franchises league-record 14th championship only one month ago.

In addition to Reyes' special night, there were two "golazos" that will certainly be in the running for "Goal of the Season."

Querétaro youngster Pablo Ortiz ran onto a Pablo Barrera pass and one-times a rocket from 25 meters into the upper right corner of Tiago Volpi's net to give the Gallos Blancos a 2-0 lead early in the second half.

Later that same night, Léo Bonatini converted a difficult volley off a Ricardo Chávez pass to provide Atlético de San Luis with the lone goal of their match against Mazatlán FC.

Results and schedule

Friday night: Querétaro 2, Toluca 2; Mazatlán FC 0, Atlético de San Luis 1

Saturday night: Cruz Azul 0, Pachuca 1; Guadalajara 1, Santos Laguna 1; Monterrey 2, Puebla 0; Tijuana 0, América 2

Sunday night: UNAM 1, FC Juárez 0; Necaxa 2, Atlas 1

Wednesday night: Tigres at León

Next. Chivas plan extravagant homecoming for 'Chicharito'. Chivas plan extravagant homecoming for 'Chicharito'. dark

This match was pushed back a few days at the petition of Tigres, the losing finalist in the Apertura 2023. Liga MX typically gives the two finalists from the Apertura season the option of rescheduling their first game of the following season to allow them an extra week of rest.