Week 8 of the Liga MX Clausura 2014 season was one that not only marked the almost halfway mark of the season but one which saw three games between top of the table teams produce three clear-cut statement wins. On the other side of the coin, we have a team that is now finding themselves in the midst of a relegation battle after continuing a recent bad run of form even after a coaching change.
The game of the weekend took place on Saturday afternoon at the Estadio Azteca as Pumas UNAM defeated Club America 3-1 for the first time in seven meetings in the ‘Clasico Capitalino.’ This was a game in which America were the much better team in the first 45 minutes of play, but other than a lone goal from Raul Jimenez, they were unable to convert on their chances. They were made to pay in the second half by a Pumas team that took advantage of its opportunities while maintaining its composure, something America once again failed to do as talk of crisis with the team will ring louder.
In another big game on Saturday, defending champions Leon easily defeated Santos Laguna 4-2 in a game which served as a rematch of one of the semifinals from the Apertura 2013 while also being a battle between both of Mexico’s participants in this year’s Copa Libertadores. Leon produced a dominating and clinical first half by jumping out to a 4-0 lead which saw them finally score with the same ability as last season, something that has been missing so far this season from them in several games.
The third big game of the weekend took place on Sunday as Toluca hosted Chivas. It was a game Toluca controlled and were the better team from start to finish, but it appeared that a cautious Chivas would somehow find a way to eek out a draw thanks to several incredible saves from their goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez. But Toluca attacking midfielder Issac Brizuela scored the lone goal of the game at the 89th minute to give Toluca a 1-0 win and keep them second in the standings with 19 points.
Rounding off the weekend action, Cruz Azul continued their fast and impressive start to the season as it beat a tough Queretaro team 3-1 on Friday night to maintain their lead atop the standings with 22 points to date and set up a top of the standings matchup next weekend against Toluca. While Cruz Azul did not look dazzling, they were effective yet again in victory. Also on Friday night, Jaguares de Chiapas scored an important 3-0 win over Xolos Tijuana as Chiapas look set to distance themselves from relegation zone battle.
Speaking of relegation zone battle, Veracruz have put themselves in the thick of it with another loss as they lost 1-0 away to a Tigres UANL team that picked up its first win of the Clausura season. Despite a coaching change, Veracruz have lost the first two games under coach Jose Luis Sanchez Solar. It appears that unless they can somehow turn it around quickly, they will be overtaken by an Atlante team that drew 0-0 to Puebla. Another relegation threatened team, Atlas, also lost 1-0 at home to Monterrey.
Last but not least, Pachuca showed that it can also translate its fine form away from home and replicate it at home as they easily defeated Monarcas Morelia 3-0 in a game where there was no doubt about which was the superior team from the opening whistle. It also meant another statement win in a weekend highlighted with one statement win after another in marquee games.