Jornada 16 was absolutely nuts, to put it lightly. We were treated to a weekend of surprise results, controversy, and intrigue. Snatching the headlines is the crazy relegation race, with all three teams near the drop picking up unexpected results. In fact, it seemed like the entire table was flipped this week, with the best sides being consistently beaten by their inferiors. Here are the five biggest stories from the weekend in Liga MX.
Tigres Shoot Into Playoff Spot
Tigres have been pretty awful for the most part this year, but thanks to a 3-0 pounding of Tijuana at El Volcán they have continued their late surge and are now sitting in a playoff spot with one week left in the season. A win next week at Querétaro would guarantee them a place in the liguilla. Tigres did have hiccups in the Champions League and against Monterrey last week, but they’ve now won 3 out of their last 4 league matches, with a combined score of 10-1 over that stretch.
Relegation Race Update
This week in the ongoing relegation saga was particularly interesting. The first game of the jornada saw Veracruz pick up a trademark Veracruz home victory, when they defeated Rayados 1-0 thanks to Egidio Arevalo’s 14th minute goal. The win means Los Tiburones are SAFE heading into the final round of matches next week.
Elsewhere, Chiapas took on Santos Laguna in Tuxtla Gutierrez in what turned out to be the craziest game of the weekend. Luis Leal put Jaguares in front almost immediately, but Santos clawed their way back to take a 2-1 lead. Chiapas would salvage a draw, for a 2-2 final, but they dropped into the relegation zone after failing to secure the victory.
The final relegation candidate, Morelia, had a statement victory in the form of a 4-0 pounding of Pumas UNAM. Raul Ruidiaz led the team with a fantastic hat-trick, the second of his Liga MX career, and catapulted them out of the bottom spot, a single point ahead of Jaguares.
The table currently reads:
Veracruz 117 Points (-38 GD)
Morelia 115 Points (-29 GD)
Chiapas 114 Points (-38 GD)
Disaster at Chiapas
Jaguares may have drawn 2-2, but the scenes near the end of the match are what stole the headlines. Fans invaded the pitch, upset with the result, and in the chaos one police officer was injured and sent to the hospital. The game was able to be finished, almost 20 minutes later, but the result didn’t change The league has not announced how they will discipline Chiapas yet, though the precedent would be a temporary stadium ban. Chiapas play on the road at Atlas during Jornada 17.
The Cruz Azul Curse Continues
I must sound like a broken record by now, but as long as Cruz Azul continue to do this to themselves, I will continue to write about it. Truly, this team is one of the most interesting in all of sports, for all the wrong reasons. Leading 2-1 over CONCACAF Champions Pachuca and playing the role of playoff spoilers would’ve been a fine result for Cruz Azul, but of course it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, in the 93rd minute, 44 year old goalkeeper Oscar “El Conejo” Perez scored an equalizer for Pachuca, once again crushing the hearts of Cruz Azul fans across the globe. Only adding to the heartbreak for La Maquina fans is the fact that Perez is at heart, a Cruz Azul man, having made over 400 appearances with the club.
The Leaders All Lose
It’s true that the #1 seed hasn’t won the title since the 2014 Apertura, when América pulled it off, but it seems like teams may be taking that a bit too seriously. Monterrey missed an opportunity to seize first place when they lost on Friday, then on Saturday Xolos took a heavy loss against Tigres. Chivas drew 1-1 at León, failing to take full advantage. To round things out, Toluca lost 2-1 to Querétaro, which means the top 4 combined for just a single point during this round of matches. As a result, Atlas have leaped up into 3rd place, passing Chivas and Toluca.