Playoff races are heating up in the Mexican Apertura 2009 season, but teams on the down and out are also playing for their lives - their Primera Division permanency is at stake. Goal.com's Sylvestre Adame takes a look at the week that was in Mexico.By Sylvestre Adame
Estudiantes 1 - 2 Atlas
Gallos Blancos 3 - 1 Indios
Jaguares 0 - 2 Pumas
Tigres 2 - 0 Cruz Azul
Chivas 1 - 0 Monterrey
Pachuca 2 - 1 América
Atlante 2 - 1 Morelia
Toluca 1 - 1 San Luis
Puebla 3 - 3 Santos
Best Of The Worst
The game to determine who the worst team in Mexico was held on Saturday. The encounter featured none other than Queretaro and Indios.
Hector Hugo Eugui | Eugui paid for Indios' terrible season with his head.
Of course as the weekend results show up above Indios was crowned the worse of the two after falling to Queretaro, 3-1. The advantaged was always on Queretaro’s side as they were counting with home field advantage and Indios had an interim coach at the helm. The victory must have brought some breathing space for Queretaro and their hopes to remain in the top flight, but they are far from being in the clear.
Sure Queretaro put themselves just ahead of Indios in the overall table but that is nothing compared to the other problem they have to face.
Queretaro is in danger of being relegated. The win over Indios was not enough to save them from such a tragic destiny. Los Gallos Blancos need to do a lot of winning and hope that their nearest rivals do a lot of losing. Here is the bottom of the relegation table as it stands:
The mathematics in the Mexican relegation is simple really. You just take the number of points, divide that by the number of games played and Walla the percentage is determined. Such an easy procedure to do should be fair, but unfortunately it isn’t.
This genius system makes it that much harder for a newly promoted team like Queretaro. The points don’t start at zero for everyone at the beginning of the season. Only the newly promoted team starts at zero which is unfair to them and to the team at the top.
If the newly promoted team keeps winning then their percentage points shoot through the roof which would not make it fair for the teams at the top. This is almost like the BCS rankings in college football. Everyone looks at the teams in the past season and from there establish a ranking.
The Mexican league should adopt the Europeans K.I.S.S method (Keep It Simple Stupid). Instead of doing all this math just let everyone start at zero and then at the end of the season boot the team with the lowest points. It is that simple.
Chivas’ Positive Streak
Finally after what seemed like an eternity, things are going Chivas’ way. They have not lost a game in their last three outings and more importantly Jorge Vergara’s rants have stopped.
Everything seems peaceful in the land of the goats. It seems as though the victory over Monterrey has brought Chivas that tranquility that even if it lasts for a week will be more than beneficial to the squad.
Finally, some peace? | Can it be possible that Chivas have found some tranquility?
As amazing as it might sound Las Chivas were able to pull off one of the bigger upsets in the Jornada. With a lone goal from Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez.
Guadalajara is now two points behind Atlas in Group 1. Atlas holds the second position and if Chivas keep up the wining they will no doubt leap frog them.
Chivas do have a tough string of games which could halt their progress. Chivas still have to face Santos, America, Morelia, and Cruz Azul. With a healthy Chicharito and a solid job in defense Chivas can pull off a Liguilla berth.
Pumas On The Up & Up
Pumas have not lost a game since the 9th Jornada. The felines are finally making some progress in the tournament. Puma’s recent string of success is no reason to celebrate though. Pumas have been playing mediocre teams. First they tied against Puebla, who has already tied seven times this season. Then they hosted Chivas where they could not make a second goal even if Michel were standing in the midfield line and they had a wide open goal. Finally Pumas were able to get their second win in the tournament against Jaguares. What could be the flaw with Jaguares?
They have 11 points so that’s not it. They don’t give up that many goals so that can’t be either.
Jaguares, Worst Home Team In League
Pumas visited Jaguares so it does not come to a surprise that Pumas came out victorious. Jaguares have not won a single game at home with their best performance coming in a way of a tie against the all mighty Atlante. Pumas might win one more game to close out the season because they still have to face off against Indios.
Quotes of the week
1. “That’s apart from everything else; we have only taken one step. I am convinced that if there’s someone that could beat them all in Mexico, that is Chivas. We need to work on it though both inside and outside the field. Even when Paco left he said this was a great and generous team,” said Omar Bravo after their win over Monterrey
2. “If we win then it would change our mind set and the pressure would be off. Once you win it seems like you have two weeks off and you always go relaxed into your next match,” said Edwin Santibañez before Indios loss to Queretaro.
3. “We can’t forget everything that we have won in the past because of three bad games. The results speak for themselves. A championship in the Apertura 2007, then a semifinal appearance in the Apertura 2008 and then Concachampions in 2009. The team has results that catch the eye,” said Atlante coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz.
Sergio Bueno | Santos' manager celebrated a bit too prematurely against Puebla, but still happy with draw.
4. “The tie ended up being a good result. We played an opponent who knows how to play to their strengths and that is dangerous at home. There was a chance to win the game but they too had a very good chance of winning the game. We will go home happy because of the good effort and because we know that we continue to climb,” said Sergio Bueno after Santos tied with Puebla.
5. “Once again we could not make home field advantage count. I believe that the ending result will not favor us. Our intention was to win the game and not keep advancing by one. At this moment the tie does not help thanks to the group we find ourselves in. Our next Rivals are America and Morelia, who are group opponents. We are obligated to win, it might be difficult but everything is possible in football,” admitted Carlos “Pescadito” Ruiz after a tie against Santos.
|7. Cruz Azul||11||6||0||5||20||14||6||18|
1. Toluca. Toluca keeps on rolling in the tournament and has not tasted defeat in five games. Los Diablos will only see two more teams that could give them problems. Toluca has to face Pachuca and Puebla on the last two dates of the regular season.
2. Monterrey: Los Rayados suffered their second defeat of the campaign courtesy of Chivas. Monterrey will want to sum up as much points as they can now because they face Santos, America, and Morelia to close out the regular season.
3. Morelia: The combination of Hugo Droguett, Miguel Sabah, and Luis Gabriel Rey has resulted to be lethal to team’s defenses. Sabah is coming off an injury and will be contributing more in the weeks to come. Pachuca, Puebla, and Monterrey will be Morelia’s toughest obstacles.
4. America: Against Pachuca, America suffered their second loss of the season, which put an end to an 8 game unbeaten streak. Las Aguilas haven’t fared all that well away from home recently, as they have not been able to see an away victory in their last three games. America still has to deal with Puebla, Monterrey and Santos in the following weeks.
5. Santos: Los Guerreros are on a five-game unbeaten streak. They tied against a stingy Puebla on Sunday. They did it with out their star Daniel Ludueña. Santos only has two tough challenges ahead. They still need to square off against Monterrey and America.
6. Pachuca: Pachuca is an unstable team. They don’t seem to have any real identity.
Identity Theft | Will the real Tuzos show up?
Saturday’s result against America will be a definite boost for the club had been hammered twice before that. Pachuca still has Morelia, Cruz Azul, and Toluca, left to face in the tournament.
7. Cruz Azul: Cruz Azul has tripped up twice recently. La Maquina was halted by Toluca first and then embarrassed by Tigres in their second loss. Cruz Azul need to get it together but thankfully they are in a weak group. Pachuca and Puebla will be in Cruz Azul’s mind to close out the regular season.
8. Atlas: Atlas has slowly begun to gain pace. Los Zorros are only in contention because of a very weak Group 2. Atlas has won two in a row and need to keep on winning because Chivas is trailing close behind. Los Zorros still need to face Pachuca and Puebla.
Game of the week: Puebla vs. Santos
This game had to go down as a classic. It was a back and fourth game that kept the fans and the viewers on the edge of their seats. Santos always took the lead but Puebla always tied it back. Carlos “El Pescadito” Ruiz had two goals for Puebla including a tremendous volley. Santos walked away happy because it is not easy to get a good result in the Cuauhtémoc. Puebla did not sit well with their seventh tie.
Player of the week: Pablo Barrera
Hard to imagine that a Pumas man would make it to best player this season but it happened. Barrera won the game for Pumas in a span of just three minutes. Both of his goals were well worthy of a replay. The Cristiano Ronaldo of Mexico lived up to his nick name on Saturday.
Team of the week: Queretaro
With a week full of surprises, why not go with Queretaro? Before the game Queretaro had only scored six times but were able to find the net 3 times on Saturday. Queretaro’s win over Indios is crucial since they are the top two contenders fighting against relegation.
Sylvestre Adame covers Mexican football for Goal.com.
For more coverage of Mexicans Abroad, visit Goal.com's Mexican football section.