Liga MX Clausura final weekend: Cruz Azul seals top spot with win over Pumas
The narrow margins in the race for the Liguilla ensure a frantic finish to the Clausura.
Cruz Azul schemer Mauro Formica notched the winner eight minutes from time to give La Máquina a 2-1 victory over Pumas and seal top spot in the table.
Miguel Tovar/STF / LatinContent WO
By Kyle McCarthyFOX Soccer
Sixteen games hardly proved enough to separate the pack in Liga MX. Fourteen of the 18 teams still harbored Liguilla ambitions heading into the final weekend. Most of them were bunched in the almighty mess in mid-table, a congested gaggle likely to reward any team capable of grasping its destiny by the scruff of the neck and hauling itself to the safety of the playoffs.
This weekend will finally establish some clarity in a table with few certainties heading into the decisive round of fixtures. Either Cruz Azul or Toluca will finish first. Cruz Azul, Toluca and Pumas UNAM will feature in the Liguilla. Tigres, Atlante, Puebla and Veracruz will miss out on the postseason. Atlante is headed for Ascenso MX.
The rest of the answers will emerge as the 17th and final round unfolds. Let's take a look at the current table to assess the lay of the land:
LIGA MX TABLE AS IT STANDS - LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY AT 2:30A.M. ET
POINTS (GAMES PLAYED)
Pachuca ended Querétaro's Liguilla hopes with a staggering four-goal comeback at Estadio Corregidora. Gallos Blancos found themselves three goals to the good after 66 minutes, but Abraham Carreno and Enrique both snatched doubles in the final quarter of an hour to seal a dramatic 4-3 victory. Pachuca must now wait to see if its 24-point haul will prove good enough. ... León kept its playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory at Tijuana. Luis Montes scored the decisive goal after 65 minutes to keep the holders in the mix for at least another day. León must hope Atlas, Guadalajara and Morelia all fail to win in order to qualify. Tijuana also faces a nervous wait given its poor goal difference.
Cruz Azul completed its stellar week with a 2-1 victory over Mexico rivals Pumas UNAM. Mauro Formica snatched the winner eight minutes from time to ensure La Maquina's place atop the table when the Clausura concludes. ... Santos Laguna settled for a point at Veracruz after Alfredo Moreno claimed the equalizer after 68 minutes to secure a 2-2 draw. The draw means Santos can finish no higher than fourth in the final table. ... Tigres ended Atlas' hopes of a Liguilla place with a 2-1 victory at Estadio Universitario. Mexican international Alan Pulido grabbed the decisive goal in the final quarter of an hour to settle the affair. ... Chiapas thumped Atlante 5-2 at Estadio Victor Manuel Reyna, but the resounding victory did not prove enough to keep the home side's Liguilla hopes alive.
Morelia will cinch its spot in the postseason with a victory at Puebla (1:00p.m. ET). Anything less will see Monarcas miss out. ... Toluca hosts Club América (1:00p.m. ET) in a match with implications for both sides. Toluca is guaranteed to finish second in the table, while Las Aguilas can finish third with a victory. ... Guadalajara and Monterrey may find themselves eliminated from the postseason before they take the field in the final match of the Clausura (6:00p.m. ET). Monterrey is essentially out barring a heavy victory and a lot of help, but Chivas could sneak into the fray with a big win if Morelia fails to collect three points earlier in the day.