In week 9 of the Liga MX Clausura 2017, Cruz Azul will host Chiapas at the Estadio Azul this Saturday, March 4, 2017 (3:00 PM Pacific). The match is crucial for both teams as it directly affects the relegation race in the Liga MX this season.
Cruz Azul is a crumbling franchise in Mexican football under the reign of manager, Paco Jemez. The Mexico City team now is in danger of relegation after two straight losses and not having won a game since week 1 of the competition. The ‘cementeros’ are currently just 10 points ahead of Morelia on the relegation table and just three points ahead of Chiapas.
Paco Jemez has not been doing a bad job at the helm, changing Cruz Azul’s approach, making the team very attractive to watch. The team has just not been clinical enough to achieve the favorable results, no matter who is the striker on the team. From Jorge Benitez to Martin Cauteruccio, none have been able to solve ‘la maquina’s’ problem of finding a way to get the ball in the net consistently.
The ‘cementeros’ have scored a goal or less in six out of the eight games in this Clausura 2017 and are coming off two straight shutouts against Club America, and Atlas. If the team continues to lack scoring production, it will be hard to make playoffs or even evade relegation, currently in 17th place with only six points.
Chiapas has been the most fascinating team of this Clausura 2017, in ninth place with 12 points after eight weeks of play. While Sergio Bueno’s main priority is to fight relegation in this campaign if the Jaguares keep on performing, we could see them fighting for playoffs this Clausura. Chiapas has four victories over big teams in Toluca, Tigres, America and most recently Chivas.
The victory over Chivas earned Chiapas national fame, as the team was down 3-0 at halftime and came back to win the game 4-3. The most fascinating thing about the big comeback win for the relegation side was that they scored three goals in four minutes against Chivas. Most recently Chiapas is coming from another come-from-behind victory, this time in the Copa MX competition. The team from ‘la selva’ was down 2-0 at halftime to second division side, Potros UAEM, but Felix Micolta scored a hat-trick for the 3-2 win.
The victory was of some magnitude as it allowed Chiapas to advance to the round of 16 in the Copa MX tournament. The success of this Chiapas team has really been a team effort, accounting for six different goalscorers in nine goals this Clausura. Chiapas looks like a more stable franchise than Cruz Azul now and a win for Sergio Bueno looks very probable in this match. The match should be a hard-fought encounter, with both teams looking for the win to evade relegation.