Liga MX playoffs set with Clasico Joven taking place in quarterfinals

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Guillermo Arias
Xolos locked up the final place in the Liguilla and will face Superlider Leon while a title rematch from last season is in the cards

The Liga MX Liguilla is set after Tijuana thumped Puebla 4-0 on Saturday to lock up the final place in the postseason. 

Puebla had the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but the goal was ruled out by VAR because it hit Lucas Cavalini's arm before he brought it down and finished. The teams went into the break level. 

The home side was able to find its way through in the second half after Vladimir Lorona was sent off in the 53rd minute for a tackle on Tijuana forward Ariel Nahuelpan. Four minutes later Tijuana went in front thanks to a goal from Diego Braghieri. Miller Bolanos added a second two minutes later, and the rout was on with Xolos finding two more goals against Puebla. 

That clinched the eighth and final seed in the playoffs for Tijuana, coached by Oscar Pareja. The former FC Dallas manager arrived at the border club in the winter after Diego Cocca failed to make the playoffs in the Apertura. 

"I'm really happy to be able to give Tijuana, the club, the fans, this first Liguilla. We're really proud, the players are happy. We played a really tough game with the whole context of the game, but I think we did a good job, especially in the second half," Pareja said after the contest. 

Leon and Tigres entered the final weekend of the regular season knowing they were locked in to the first and second spots, respectively. Monterrey came into the weekend as the third-place team and sewed up that spot despite a 2-0 loss to Atlas. Rayados needed to avoid a defeat by four goals or more to secure the place and face Necaxa in the quarterfinals rather than a more daunting matchup against reigning champion Club America.

That also set up a Clasico Joven in the quarterfinals between Cruz Azul and America. The two Mexico City sides played in the Liga MX final in the previous tournament. 

Tthe playoffs matchups are: 

(1) Leon vs. (8) Tijuana 

(2) Tigres UANL vs. (7) Pachuca 

(3) Monterrey vs. (6) Necaxa 

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(4) Cruz Azul vs. (5) Club America 

The better-seeded team hosts the second leg of the series with away goals the first tiebreaker and the second tiebreaker better regular season finish. 

The top-two seeds are playing Wednesday-Saturday with Pachuca hosting Tigres at 8 p.m. ET to kick off the postseason and Xolos-Leon following that. Rayados-Necaxa and Cruz Azul-Club America will have their first legs on Thursday and second on Sunday, though with both Mexico City clubs playing in the Azteca, it will play host to both contests.

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