MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 16: Head coach Javier Aguirre of RCD Espanyol gives instructions behind him Head coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid CF during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and RCD Espanyol at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 16, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Javier Aguirre, Espanyol
Espanyol needed a miracle worker in late November after dismissing Mauricio Pochettino. Javier Aguirre soon arrived to provide salvation. The former Mexico boss has engineered a remarkable turnaround for a side once entrenched at the bottom of the table. The latest in a series of positive results – a 3-2 home victory over Levante on Saturday – pushed Espanyol five points clear of the relegation zone. The victory increased Aguirre's haul to 16 points from nine matches and maintained the faith that Espanyol may somehow avoid the trap door after all. Aguirre's continued heroics topped an eventful weekend for Mexicans Abroad. Read on to learn how two players slated to miss the Hexagonal opener against Jamaica helped their club teams at the weekend.
Carlos Vela, Real Sociedad; Giovani Dos Santos, Mallorca
Vela brushed aside the controversy in his home country to score his ninth goal of the season in Sociedad's 3-0 home victory over 10-man Mallorca on Sunday. Gonzalo Castro and Diego Ifrán scored either side of Vela's strike after 70 minutes to provide a comfortable margin of victory. Dos Santos played the entire match for shorthanded Mallorca, but he could not produce the necessary breakthrough to snatch a point on the road. Dos Santos – in stark contrast to the defiant Vela – left after the match to link up with José Manuel de la Torre's squad ahead of the match against the Jamaicans in midweek.
Javier Aquino, Villarreal
Aquino will ply his trade in the Spanish second division for the remainder of the season after sealing a move to Villarreal last week. The speedy winger – perhaps the favorite to start on the right wing against Jamaica in midweek – left Cruz Azul with six months left on his deal to make the trip across the pond. Villarreal will hope the in-form Aquino can help the side climb out of midtable and mount a promotion charge as the season continues.
Guillermo Ochoa, Ajaccio
The Liverpool target once again produced a piece of brilliance to preserve a stunning 3-1 home win over Lyon on Sunday. Ochoa guessed correctly three minutes from time to stop Bafetimbi Gomis' potential equalizer from the spot. The timely intervention allowed Adrian Mutu to grab his second goal of the game in second-half stoppage time to secure a much-needed victory for the relegation battlers.
Hector Moreno, Espanyol
The Mexico lynchpin once again featured in the center of defense in the 3-2 home victory over Levante on Saturday. Christian Stuani and Sergio García scored within three second-half minutes to ensure Espanyol recorded a third win in four attempts. Moreno then departed to link up with his international teammates in Mexico City ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Wednesday.
Javier Hernandez, Manchester United
United continued its march to the Premier League title with a 1-0 away victory at Fulham on Saturday. Wayne Rooney struck after 79 minutes to provide the difference and send United nine points clear by the end of the weekend. Hernández replaced Luis Antonio Valenca after 66 minutes to help his side claim the expected victory. Chicharito will almost certainly feature from the start for Mexico on Wednesday as El Tri prepares to open the Hexagonal against Jamaica at Estadio Azteca.