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Chivas enter the playoffs in pole position

November 7, 2011

I went to the Omnilife to watch Chivas vs. Pachuca on Saturday. It was much more entertaining than last week’s Clasico Tapatio. More importantly, Spurs are on seven wins out of eight now, thanks to a beauty of a solo goal from Aaron “Azza” Lennon, some heroics from Brad Friedel and an enormous slice of luck. Good times all round. Here’s my brief roundup of the last round of games in the Mexican league:

The main phase of the Mexican soccer league has come to an end, with the top eight teams now set to battle it out for championship glory in the playoffs.

The Tapatio clubs enjoyed contrasting fortunes in the Apertura 2011, with Guadalajara Chivas finishing top of the league after a 2-2 draw with Pachuca on Saturday night, while local rivals Atlas limped over the finish line in bottom place, having succumbed to a 3-0 defeat away to Santos.

Estudiantes Tecos fared little better, finishing third from bottom after also losing their final game 3-0 away to Queretaro’s Gallos Blancos, who, with that win, sneaked into the last playoff position ahead of Pumas. Cruz Azul, Tigres, Santos, Jaguares, Pachuca and Morelia claimed the other coveted playoff places.

With 30 points, Chivas finished one point ahead of Cruz Azul, despite having twice squandered the lead against Pachuca in an incident-packed game before a half-empty Omnilife Stadium.

The Rojiblancos led 1-0 at half-time thanks to Marco Fabian’s 21st minute strike, although Pachuca had a fine equalizer disallowed for offside.

Both sides then had a man sent off in an altercation which saw Pachuca awarded a penalty early in the second half. Enrique Esqueda duly converted the spot-kick but Chivas took the lead again in the 66th minute through Erick “Cubo” Torres.

It seemed Chivas would claim all three points but Esqueda popped up again in the 90th minute to tie the game with a stunning volley from the edge of the box.

The fixtures for the quarter-final playoffs are as follows: Chivas vs. Gallos Blancos, Cruz Azul vs. Morelia, Tigres vs. Pachuca and Santos vs. Jaguares. The first-leg ties will be played on Saturday, November 19, with the reverse fixtures taking place the following weekend.

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