Liga MX has taken absolutely no time at all to get warmed up in 2022. This weekend, Jornada 3 seriously turned up the heat. In a round that featured several giant games between teams who will be contending for the title, we saw a staggering seven red cards in eight games across the league. Just five teams remain unbeaten as we head into the two-week international break. We take a look at the talking points from a frankly incredible weekend in Mexico.
Thriller in Monterrey
Another instalment in this great rivalry was played out on Saturday night, as Cruz Azul visited Monterrey.
Whilst the home side enjoyed prolonged periods of domination throughout the whole game – obtaining 65% possession and taking 19 shots – it was Cruz Azul who looked to be getting something out of the game. They took a 1-0 lead into half-time after a Antuna goal on the half-hour mark.
Just five minutes after the restart, the visitors were awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR call and a check of the monitor by the referee, who also showed a red card to Stefan Medina. Angulo scored from the spot to double their lead. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Rayados’ misery was compounded when coach Javier Aguirre was sent to the stands for arguing with the officials, and it looked impossible that Cruz Azul would walk away with less than all three points.
That was until the 88th minute, where Cruz Azul’s Jimenez was shown his second yellow card in five minutes – the third red card of the game. Two minutes into the seven of additional time, a left-footed Funes Mori rocket pulled one back for the hosts, setting up a nervy finish for Cruz Azul.
They handled those nerves poorly, as captain César Montes met a cross from the right wing, directing his header into the back of the net in the 96th minute, drawing the game 2-2. A sensational comeback from Rayados, who remain unbeaten.
Atlas grab away victory at Club America
Saturday saw reigning Apertura 2021 champions Atlas go to Mexico City to face Club América.
It was a game that was more or less dominated by the hosts. América averaged 60% of the possession across the game and the majority of that was within Atlas’ half – demonstrated by the corner count of five to Atlas’ none. They also managed to out-shoot the visitors by 14 to four. A remarkable feat, given that Club América ended up losing the game 2-0.
Atlas struck first in the 70th minute. A headed clearance fell to Barbosa on the left-hand corner of the Club América box. He let it bounce, controlled perfectly with his chest, and struck a beautiful volley over Ochoa… a wonderful strike.
EL GOL DE DIEGO BARBOSA ES DIGNO DEL PREMIO PUSKÁS, @FIFACOM_ES!!! 🤩
— ⭑ Atlas FC ⭑ (@AtlasFC) January 23, 2022
Atlas sealed the win with a second goal in the 96th minute, following some neat forward play and a tidy finish from Herrera just inside the América box. A big win and a vital clean sheet will give Atlas a major boost heading into the break.
Gignac does Gignac things…
Tigres came from behind against Pumas to pick up their first win of 2022 thanks to two goals in the final 10 minutes at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario.
The home side took the lead on the half-hour mark. A turnover in midfield possession was picked up quickly by Alvarez, who slotted a delightful pass into the path of Jeronimo Rodriguez, who duly finished the one-on-one chance. Pumas continued to dominate the first half.
The half-time break was a turning point in the game, as Tigres grew into the game. Some shrewd substitutions offered reinforcements to the Tigres attack, which led to their deserved equaliser with just over 10 minutes to go from Nico Lopez.
The defining moment of the game came in the 92nd minute, as the referee pointed to the spot, giving Tigres the opportunity to win a hard-fought game. Talismanic Frenchman André-Pierre Gignac stepped up and converted, delivering three much-needed points to the away side.
— Club Tigres Oficial 🐯 (@TigresOficial) January 23, 2022
They’ll be hoping that the win can kick-start their season.
Elsewhere, and an early look at the table…
Santos Laguna, Pachuca, Mazatlan and Atletico San Luis all had weekends to forget, suffering defeats and red cards at the hands of Nexaca, Leon, Toluca and Juarez respectively. Last but not least, Queretaro took a shock lead in the third minute against Chivas, who equalised late in the first half to salvage a point at home.
It’s very early in the season, and teams are still finding their feet in the 2022. Nevertheless, with just three rounds played, here’s how the table shapes up.
¡Gran inicio del #GritaMéxicoC22!
Hemos vivido grandes partidos y muchas emociones.
Esta es la #TablaGeneral después de 3 Jornadas:
— Liga BBVA MX (@LigaBBVAMX) January 25, 2022