Matchday 14: Necaxa wait till late while Pumas take care of business early

Liga MX playoff hopes at stake as León hosts Querétaro, while underachieving Chivas host last-place Puebla
José Paradela (left) and Ricardo Monreal celebrate after the former scored Necaxa's equalizer against Tijuana Friday night. Paradela  added the winner to help the Rayos remain in the Liga MX playoff hunt.
José Paradela (left) and Ricardo Monreal celebrate after the former scored Necaxa's equalizer against Tijuana Friday night. Paradela added the winner to help the Rayos remain in the Liga MX playoff hunt. / Jam Media/GettyImages

Necaxa rediscovered the late-game heroics that sparked the club’s revival early this season while UNAM ended its five-game winless streak as Matchday 14 kicked off Friday night.

José Paradela got the assist on Necaxa's opener then scored twice in the final minutes to lift the Rayos to a 3-2 win over Tijuana – the only Liga MX team without a win this season – putting the "los Electricistas" squarely in the playoff hunt.

Paradela scored from the penalty spot in minute 85 and again 6 minutes later to snatch victory from defeat, making it the fifth time in the Clausura 2024 that Necaxa has rescued points with a goal after minute 82.

UNAM kept its postseason hopes alive with a 4-0 cakewalk over Mazatlán FC, helped by an own-goal before the game was 45 seconds old. Rogelio Funes Mori came off the bench to provide a goal and an assist, a contribution that was matched by star winger César Huerta.

Northern Giants headline marquee match-ups

Saturday features five games, three of which could be playoff previews.

First up, León hosts Querétaro in what could be a Play-In contest as both clubs have been surging after slow starts.

Ninth-place Querétaro and 8th-place León are even on 20 points (behind UNAM on goal differential) and the winner could climb into 7th place with just three games remaining.

The visiting Gallos Blancos are on a three-game win streak and have only lost once since Feb. 2 (a 3-1 setback against Cruz Azul on Matchday 5) while the host Esmeraldas are on a five-game unbeaten streak (4-1-0).

Later, Tigres and Pachuca will do battle in “El Volcán” with both teams in the middle of key Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinals series.

The 4th-place Tigres (24 points) might be tempted to prioritize Tuesday’s return match against reigning MLS champs Columbus Crew (also at home), while 7th-place Pachuca (22) can focus on the Liga MX calendar after stomping Costa Rica’s Herediano 5-0 in the first leg on the road.

The visiting Tuzos will hope to replicate their Concacaf form as they are on a three-game losing streak in Liga MX play.

In Mexico City, 6th-place Cruz Azul welcomes 2nd-place Monterrey but the visiting Rayados will no doubt be focusing on their return match against Lionel Messi and Inter Miami. Monterrey came back from Miami with a 2-1 advantage, but Messi did not play whereas “La Pulga” is expected to be in uniform on Wednesday night.

The Cementeros (23) are on a three-game winless streak and Martín Anselmi is desperate to get things turned around so that “La Máquina Azul” can avoid the Play-In Tournament. If the Rayados (28) rest some starters ahead of their Concacaf quarterfinal, Cruz Azul can ill afford to drop more points at home.

The rest of the Liga MX schedule

Saturday’s other two contests sees Guadalajara (19) hosting last-place Puebla (5) and league-leading América (28) paying a visit to Santos Laguna (14).

The 11th-place Chivas must take advantage of their match-up against the cellar-dwelling Camoteros if they are to salvage their season. A season after finishing in 3rd place, “El Rebaño Sagrado” is at risk of missing out entirely on the Liga MX playoffs unless they claim all 3 points at home tonight.

The reigning Liga MX champs should remain atop the table after tonight’s clash with the Guerreros. América is on a five-game unbeaten run in which they have outscored opponents 12-4, surging past Monterrey into first place.

The youthful Santos side had revived its meager postseason hopes with a four-game unbeaten streak until crashing and burning against FC Juárez last weekend. A loss could have “los Laguneros” fans muttering “Wait till next season” before the night is over.

Matchday 14 concludes Sunday with 3rd-place Toluca hosting 15th-place Atlas and 16th-place FC Juárez visiting 13th-place Atlético de San Luis.


Toluca (26) – the joint highest-scoring team in Liga MX (with Pachuca) – should solidify its claim to a spot in the Liguilla while San Luis (13) still entertains dwindling postseason hopes.