Liga MX’s Week 7 is now in the books! In the latest round, Mexico’s top flight showcased an extended fairy tale run for Puebla, a resurgence for one of the league’s most talented teams, a couple of prominent managerial changes, and more!
In case you missed any of the action from Jornada 7 of the 2022 Clausura, here are three big talking points, plus some further observations.
Puebla keeps finding ways to stay on top
There’s a sense of inevitably with Puebla.
Despite the fact that it is the the team with the lowest reported market value in the league, Puebla and 37-year-old manager Nicolas Larcamon have always grinded their way towards dramatic results this season with their tireless workrate.
Saturday’s 3-2 away victory over Chivas was simply a continuation of those efforts. Down 2-0 by halftime, the “Larcaboys” mounted another astounding second-half comeback with a 3-2 win that was secured by a 78th minute goal from former Chivas player Guillermo Martinez.
The result keeps Puebla at first place in the Liga MX table and with the only undefeated record left in the Clausura.
Nevertheless, there was controversy from the result. A few calls that didn’t go Chivas’ way compelled the club to screenshot and post tweets from former referees who believed that some decisions went against them.
Was there foul on Chivas’ Christian “Chicote” Calderon before Puebla’s equalizer to make it 2-2? Was a red card for Chivas forward Alexis Vega the correct decision? Should they have earned a late penalty against Puebla? It’s all debatable, but in the end, Puebla’s never-say-die attitude once again managed to secure three additional points.
Tigres roaring back with fifth win in a row
Despite the fact that Puebla are in first place, no team over the last five Liga MX matchdays have collected more points than Tigres. On the opposite end of the market value spectrum, the talent-heavy squad led by former Club America and Mexico manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera have rocketed up the league table with five consecutive victories after last Friday’s 3-2 away win over Juarez.
As always, Tigres’ all-time leading goalscorer Andre-Pierre Gignac was the focal point with his brace in the win. A 43rd minute scissor kick — which has somewhat become his trademark in the league — was enough to not only secure his second goal of the night, but also enough to distance Tigres at 3-0 before Juarez made it interesting.
Tigres survived Juarez’s late rally, and most importantly, Gignac’s fellow Frenchman Florian Thauvin appears to be finding his own run of form. The former Marseille winger, who provided Tigres’ first goal of the night, has looked more active after collecting an assist earlier this month against Chivas.
If the two ex-Ligue 1 playmakers can maintain their form, and if Tigres’ All-Star quality roster continues to help in support, they might be unstoppable once the playoffs roll around.
Managerial changes for Monterrey, Santos
It was only a matter of time for managers Javier Aguirre and Pedro Caixinha.
Heading into the weekend, Aguirre had no room for error with Monterrey. Following a disappointing run at the Club World Cup last month, and just one win from his first four games of the Liga MX season, it was imperative for the former Mexico coach to secure a statement-making result at home against San Luis on Saturday.
Instead, Monterrey stumbled to a 2-0 loss against the league minnows. The club then officially announced that Aguirre and Monterrey had parted ways. The decision follows confrontations from frustrated fans earlier last week who stopped Monterrey players outside of their training ground and forced them to discuss their poor start to 2022.
On Thursday, Caixinha suffered a similar fate as Aguirre after being dropped by Santos Laguna.
With just two points from his first six games of the Liga MX season, the manager desperately needed some good news through a mid-week CONCACAF Champions League battle against Major League side CF Montreal. Up 1-0 from the first of two legs in the round of 16, Santos Laguna appeared to have a small advantage when they visited Montreal for their final match of the series on Wednesday.
Caixinha and his men were pummeled. It wasn’t their best XI out on the pitch, but that’s no excuse for the listless Liga MX side that allowed two goals within the first 22 minutes of their 3-0 loss. By Thursday, Caixinha’s exit from the club was made official.
Without Caixinha, Santos Laguna claimed their first win of the season after defeating Cruz Azul 2-1 on Sunday. The game-winner in the 94th minute arrived from 20-year-old Diego Medina, who had just made his professional debut in the league one month ago.
– Elsewhere in Week 7 results, Pachuca held onto second place thanks to their 3-1 victory over Mazatlan, a late equalizer from Toluca secured a point in their 1-1 away draw with Queretaro, Necaxa failed to sneak anything past Leon goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota in their 1-0 loss at home, Club Tijuana shined in a 2-0 win over current champions Atlas, and the Clasico Capitalino proved to be fairly dull one in a 0-0 result between local rivals Pumas and Club America.
– Although Santos Laguna are out of the running in the CONCACAF Champions League, three other Liga MX representatives remain after round of 16 victories last week. Looking ahead to the quarterfinal round of the tournament that begins on March 8th, Leon will face the Seattle Sounders, Pumas will take on the New England Revolution, and Cruz Azul will go up against CF Montreal.
– To close things out, we’ll end the Liga MX wrap-up with some eye-catching news that went under the radar. After being temporarily suspended since 2020, Liga MX announced last Thursday that promotion to the league is now possibly on the table for Mexican second-division clubs. Teams from the Liga de Expansion have until April 4 to submit documentation to apply for certification for promotion, and if at least four clubs are certified, promotion will return for the second division in the 2022-23 season. If at least four are in the running, only a team certified for promotion could then move up to Liga MX if they win the promotional final in the summer of 2023. The proposal made no mention possible relegation from Liga MX.