A Maza Rodriguez strike and Andres Guardado PK highlighted the weekend for Mexicans abroad, as Guillermo Ochoa put in yet another good effort in a losing cause in France.Francisco Rodriguez starred for Stuttgart in a Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg, scoring the tying goal in the midst of his team’s quick-fire comeback from a two-goal deficit. Three minutes after Cacau’s opener brought VfB within a goal in the 73rd minute, Rodriguez volleyed home through traffic before Ibrahima Traore closed the deal to stun Wolfsburg.
Down in France, Guillermo Ochoa’s Ajaccio finds itself in desperate straits as the French season winds down, after a 2-1 home reverse to Evian. The Mexican ‘keeper had another good outing but couldn’t keep out a second half free kick that made the difference.
In Spain, Hector Moreno was an innocent bystander in central defense as Lionel Messi put on a show against cross town rival Espanyol at the Nou Camp. Messi scored four to bring his seasonal goal haul in La Liga to an astounding 50. Moreno and the Espanyol defense could do little more than sit back and take notes for 90 minutes.
The day wasn’t much better for Carlos Vela, who played the full 90 but couldn’t find the back of the net as Real Sociedad dropped a road trip at nearby Osasuna. Vela put in an active shift but didn’t look as sharp as he has in past weeks, as Sociedad was blanked for the first time in ten. Fellow El Tri international Pablo Barrera missed out for Zaragoza, whose win over already-relegated Racing left the team alive going into the last date in Spain.
In the second division, Andres Guardado scored on a 24th minute penalty kick but Deportivo La Coruna could only manage a tie at home to second place Valladolid. The draw leaves the Galicians atop the table by two, with promotion looking closer by the week.
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Also in Spain’s second flight, Barcelona B dropped a second straight -- this time at home -- to Elche, with Jonathan Dos Santos playing his usual 90 minutes in the center of midfield. For Guadalajara, Anibal Zurdo played the whole game up front and saw yellow for his efforts, and his team dropped closer to the danger zone with a 4-1 home loss to stragglers Girona.
Across the straights in England, Javier Hernandez returned to action for Manchester United with a full shift in a 2-0 win over Swansea, helping the Red Devils keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the table. Chicharito was off target early, missing two close-range chances before heading just wide in the second half. Man U now needs a victory on the last weekend, and for City to drop points at home, to maintain hopes of defending its Premier League title. Elsewhere the Premiership, Gio Dos Santos missed out entirely for Tottenham, as did Efrain Juarez in Scotland for Celtic.
Nor did Mexican youngsters see action this weekend. El Tri U-20 midfielder Ulises Davila has been called back to Chelsea for evaluation after limited action this season with Vitesse, and Edson Rivera went another week without seeing the field for Braga in Portugal.
Back in the Americas in MLS, Rafa Marquez served the last of his three-game suspension for stomping on Shea Salinas, and Pavel Pardo put in another full 90 to help lead Chicago to a last-gasp victory over Chivas USA. In Vancouver, Rafael Baca played the whole game but couldn’t stop Western Conference leading San Jose from falling to the Whitecaps, 2-1.