Mexico's Javier Hernandez jumps to control the ball during a 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Jamaica in Mexico City, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
The culprits behind Mexico's 0-0 home draw with Jamaica on Wednesday dispersed to various domestic and foreign destinations with one goal in mind: quell the anger generated by the unexpected home stalemate. A pair of Mexicans Abroad took the brief to heart with their performances, but several others missed out entirely or stewed from the sidelines as their club teammates picked up the slack. The final accounting left plenty of stories to monitor from the past weekend. Read on to learn more about Héctor Moreno's goalscoring turn for resurgent Espanyol and Guillermo Ochoa's latest shutout for Ajaccio.
Hector Moreno, Espanyol
Moreno popped up at the back stick to open the scoring and tally his first goal since March in Espanyol's 4-0 away win at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. The reliable center back sparked the rout by nodding home Simão Sabrosa's free kick after 28 minutes to give Espanyol a tangible foothold in the match. Subsequent tallies by Víctor Sánchez, Christian Stuani and Joan Verdú erased Bilbao's considerable advantage in possession and extended Espanyol's unbeaten run to five league matches.
Javier Hernandez, Manchester United
Chicharito once again watched from the bench as United claimed a 2-0 victory on Sunday. Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie scored before halftime to send United 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League. Hernández will hope for a more prominent role in midweek as United prepares to face Real Madrid in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday.
Giovani dos Santos, Mallorca
The offside flag kept dos Santos from scoring the winner in second-half stoppage time of the 1-1 home draw with fellow stragglers Osasuna on Saturday. Dos Santos swept home shortly after Geromel equalized for Mallorca, but the assistant referee correctly ruled out his effort. The point left new Mallorca boss Gregorio Manzano with a platform to build upon as he attempts to navigate his side away from the drop zone.
Carlos Vela, Real Sociedad
Sociedad continued its push for a European place with a 2-1 away victory over 10-man Real Zaragoza on Sunday. Antoine Griezmann and Imanol Agirretxe struck in the first half before Apono chipped home from the spot in second-half stoppage time to grab a consolation goal for Zaragoza. Vela contributed to Griezmann's opener and threatened occasionally before departing after 73 minutes.
Andres Guardado, Valencia
Guardado received an unexpected weekend off as Valencia secured a late 1-0 victory at Celta de Vigo without his services. The regular choice at left back missed out on the squad entirely, but his teammates still managed to snatch the points in second-half stoppage time courtesy of a Nelson Haedo Valdez goal. Guardado will expect a recall to the starting XI when Valencia faces Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie on Tuesday.
Guillermo Ochoa, Ajaccio
Ajaccio extended its unbeaten run in league play to five matches with a 1-0 home victory over Bordeaux on Saturday. Ricardo Faty separated the teams after 31 minutes by nodding home a rebound from close range. Ochoa made six saves – including a vital late stop on Nicolas Maurice-Belay – to protect the result. Ajaccio now sits five points clear of the drop zone with 28 points from 24 matches.