Pachuca and Necaxa continue surprising turnaround seasons with big wins

The Tuzos earned a road win at Puebla while the Rayos held off the favored Chivas
Necaxa stayed one step ahead of Guadalajara, making a first-half goal stand up against the favored Chivas in Tuesday night Liga MX action.
Necaxa stayed one step ahead of Guadalajara, making a first-half goal stand up against the favored Chivas in Tuesday night Liga MX action. / Leopoldo Smith/GettyImages

Pachuca climbed back atop the Liga MX standings with a three-goal second-half outburst at Puebla while the surprising Necaxa Rayos stunned Guadalajara to remain unbeaten. Neither Pachuca nor Necaxa made the playoffs last season.

The “scattered” Matchday 9 schedule continues tonight with a triple-header – Toluca-Santos Laguna, León-Cruz Azul and América-Mazatlán FC – and concludes next week with another three matches. 

Atlas and UNAM kicked off the unusual matchday last Wednesday with a scoreless draw and Matchday 8 will interrupt the remaining six contests this weekend. 

Liga MX officials implemented the unusual schedule to “shorten” the Clausura 2024 calendar without jamming nine games into the middle of a single week while also taking into consideration the Concacaf Champions Cup obligations that five Liga MX teams have.

Puebla 1, Pachuca 4

Guillermo Almada and the callow Tuzos demonstrated that you can win with youth and home-grown talent in Liga MX.

Almada used seven players Tuesday night that came up through Pachuca’s academy system just a few days after using eight such players in the club’s 2-1 victory over reigning Liga MX champs América.

At Estadio Cuauhtémoc, the teams split possession right down the middle but the Tuzos used their 50% to take 21 shots, 10 of them on net, while the Camoteros managed only 7 shots, just 2 on target.

Youngsters Alan Bautista and Alexei Domínguez came on in minute 53 with the score knotted at 1 apiece. Three minutes later, the 21-year-old Bautista gave Pachuca the lead, taking a nifty square pass from the 19-year-old Domínguez and slotting home inside the right post. Bautista would add another in stoppage time. 

Erick Sánchez scored his third goal in the past two games, assisted by Salomón Rondón. Bautista, Sánchez and Rondón each have four goals to lead Pachuca, the highest-scoring team in Liga MX with 20 goals.

Necaxa 1, Guadalajara 0

Estadio Victoria was jam-packed with fans wearing red-and-white jerseys, not a typical sight for as midweek contest. Unfortunately for the home side, the Necaxa jerseys were far outnumberd by Guadalajara jerseys and loud chants of “Chivas! Chivas!” echoed throughout the stadium.

“Los Electricistas” were unfazed and they shocked the Chivas with a sturdy defensive display while also launching several dangerous counterattacks.

Despite ceding control of the ball to Guadalajara (the Chivas had 71% of possession), Necaxa got more shots on goal than did “El Rebaño Sagrado” (5-1).

The lone goal of the match came from a great individual effort by forward Ricardo Monreal in minute 28.

Montreal shook off a defender at the right sideline and then beat a double-team at the touch line, creating just enough space to slot a perfect pass to Diber Cambindo who casually banged home from close range. 

Chivas defenders Mateo Chávez and Antonio Briseño were the culprits. Left back Chávez vacated his wing to pressure the ball out near midfield, then whiffed on a tackle attempt at the touch line. For his part, Briseño failed to keep track of Cambindo as the Colombian striker drifted alone atop the 6-yard box, an easy target for Monreal to find.

Though he was only called upon to make one save, Necaxa netminder Ezequiel Unsain  bossed his area, constantly intercepting or punching out centering passes. 

His one save was top-notch, however. The 28-year-old Argentine foiled former Rayo Roberto Alvarado who had been released into the box by a seeing-eye pass from Erick Gutiérrez Alvarado into the box. A hockey announcer would have declared “A kick save and a beauty!” 

Liga MX champs go public

Club América – owned by media giant Televisa – became the first Latin American soccer team to enter the stock market and Tuesday's IPO was a huge success.

According to ESPN, just a few hours after the opening bell, the shares soared in price “triggering several brief market trading suspensions as some 1.6 million shares swapped hands.”

Frenkie de Jong responds to rumors about his future at Barça. dark. Next. Frenkie de Jong responds to rumors about his future at Barça

The defending Liga MX champs joined clubs such as Manchester United, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax as publicly traded entitities.