Cruz Azul knocks Atlas out of the top four in Liga MX

After playing a tough patch of three straight home matches with home defeats (against Necaxa, Santos, Laguna and Puebla), blue cross He begins to rediscover the strength in home play by adding two victories, first against Pumas and then against Atlas, in a revitalization MX . League On the twelfth day after the World Cup qualifiers ended in March.

Cruz Azul beat Atlas by the smallest difference in Aztec StadiumThanks to a precise header from Santiago Jimenez from the 37th minute to a pass from Aurel Antona. Both strikers were part of the Mexican squad in the final round of World Cup qualifiers (against the United States, Honduras and El Salvador), although only Antona received the activity; However, Giménez showed momentum in his return to Liga MX and scored the winning goal.

Thanks to this victory, The machine removed the Atlas in fourth place in the general table, reaching 20 points leaving him only behind Pachuca (25), Tigres (23) and Puebla (22) until the end of Saturday’s session, where Lyon may break into fourth position on Sunday if they overtake Querétaro, thus reaching the 21 units.

The cement producers placed themselves in the top four in Liga MX for the first time four days later, as the last time they held the position, which awards a direct pass to the league, was at the end of day eight, having netted a goal. Draw (2-2) in his visit to Tigres.

The match between the last two Liga MX champions saw three cries for a goal, but two of them were canceled by central referee Luis Enrique Santander. Both were Atlas headers from set-pieces: one was blocked by a handball and the other misplaced and in dramatic fashion, as happened after the 90th minute.

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Santander had to turn to VAR To cancel the first goal scored by Jonathan Herrera. After a review that lasted several minutes, the instantaneous Atlas lottery whistle cleared. The second disallowed annotation was more direct, because it was through a flag raised by an assistant to indicate intrusion. Despite the jubilant claims of the red and black players, Santander remained firm in his decisions.

blue cross He did not give his best performance despite winning against Atlas. He was overtaken in ball possession (34 vs 66%) and in total shots (six vs 12). In addition, the red and black shot at the post and another header from the left-back, Anibal Schalla, which cement goalkeeper Sebastian Jurado sent off with some tension. Despite the pressure of the guests in the last minutes, La Maquina held well with his defense area and determined victory, in a match that lasted until the 98th minute to the despair of the fans.

It was Cruz Azul’s fourth home win in this tournament, adding 2-0 over Tijuana (on January 8), 1-0 over Juarez (on January 15) and 2-1 over Pumas (on March 12). Add to that their away victories over Lyon and Toluca, as well as the draw against Monterrey and Tigres to reach 20 points that keep them among the top five teams in the league. La Maquina came from a 0-1 loss to Pachuca in Round 11, the last game before the FIFA date break.

The duel against Atlas was attended by 21,644 fans and the Blue Bloods bar was not allowed in. This number means the fourth highest entry among the seven matches played by the cement team at home during this tournament, as the record was set on the seventh day in the match against Santos Laguna with 33,924.

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Cruz Azul continues his struggle for direct positions in the league in the last third of the tournament, Looking to avoid the playoff which they lost in the 2021 Apertura Championship and left them outside the quarter-finals after defeat to Monterrey.

La Maquina’s next duel (round 13) will visit Mazatlán FC on Friday 8 April, although before that, on Tuesday 5, Pumas will visit Ciudad Universitaria in the first leg of the semi-finals of the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League.

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