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In the Liga MX none of the three sides fighting relegation look like crumbling. As the pressure rises the quality of their performances keeps improving, as for the second weekend in succession Veracruz, Atlas and Atlante all turned in fearless performances and avoided defeat.
Liga MX Relegation Round-Up: Atlas Draw, Atlante Hits Four
03/11/2014
 

RELEGATION ROUND-UP: WEEK 10


Relegation dogfights can bring out the best and the worst of a team. So often in football we see the two sides of the coin – a heroic charge to safety by one side balanced by a total implosion from another. In the Liga MX none of the three sides fighting relegation look like crumbling. As the pressure rises the quality of their performances keeps improving, as for the second weekend in succession Veracruz, Atlas and Atlante all turned in fearless performances and avoided defeat.

 

AS IT STOOD

 

Going into the weekend Atlante were still last in the relegation table, having briefly lifted themselves off the bottom last Friday evening. Michael Arroyo was their hero of Round Nine, scoring a stoppage time free-kick to give the Cancun side a 2-1 away win against Morelia. Atlas had responded to the pressure, sealing an unlikely 3-2 victory against Santos Laguna, before Liber Quinones had completed the drama when he grabbed a late equalizer to earn Veracruz a point at home to Club Tijuana.

 

Relegation Table – Thursday 6th March:

 

POSITION

TEAM

A-11

C-12

A-12

C-13

A-13

C-14

POINTS

GAMES

COEFFICIENT

15

Puebla

22

19

13

19

19

10

102

94

1.0851

16

Atlas

12

20

12

32

12

9

97

94

1.0319

17

Veracruz

0

0

0

0

20

6

26

26

1.0000

18

Atlante

19

16

20

13

12

12

92

94

0.9787

 

 

ROUND TEN ACTION

 

Veracruz started Round Ten’s action when they visited Club Leon on Friday night. The visitors faced a tough task – their hosts had been undefeated in their previous three Liga MX games and had started to find the form that won them the title last winter, while Veracruz had failed to pick up all three points since their Round Two victory against Atlante.

 

Despite their recent poor form Los Tiburones Rojos earned a spectacular 1-0 to end their dismal run of results and radically increase their chances of staying in the division. 


A poor game came alive in the second half. Matias Britos had already missed a 63rd minute penalty before Leiton Jimenez saw red, forcing Veracruz to play the final twenty minutes with only ten men. It was Mexican midfielder Luis Sanchez who scored the remarkable 92nd minute winner, smashing the ball home from an impossible angle and giving the away side an invaluable three points.

 

Saturday evening saw Atlas host Chiapas in Guadalajara. Chiapas have not been performing well in 2014, and the home side would have felt confident of getting something out of the fixture. Atlas took an early lead through Arturo González, and when Paraguayan forward José Ortigoza doubled the advantage just after halftime the three points looked assured. Chiapas refused to lie down, however, and a ten minute brace from Carlos Ochoa saw them pull back to 2-2.

 

Both sides had chances to win the game in the final twenty minutes but the score remained level. Although the point is a valuable one for Los Rojinegros they will disappointed to have conceded the two late goals and not come away with all three points.

 

Atlante were the final side of the three to play, hosting the rapidly collapsing Queretaro in Cancun. If fans thought Michael Arroyo’s Round Nine performance was impressive, this weekend eclipsed all expectations. The Ecuadorian international provided what was arguably the individual performance of the season, scoring all four goals in a thrilling 4-2 victory for the home side. The forward has now scored five times in his last two games and sees himself move to just one goal behind Martin Bravo and Enner Valencia in the leading scorers chart.

 

A tepid first half ended with Atlante leading 1-0, but after William Fernando da Silva drew Queretaro level in the 54th minute the game exploded into action. Michael Arroyo scored three times in fifteen minutes to put Atlante 4-1 ahead and all but guarantee the three points, and although Da Silva got his and Queretaro’s second with ten minutes remaining it was nothing but a mere consolation goal.

 

AS IT STANDS

 

Relegation Table – Monday 10th March:

 

POSITION

TEAM

A-11

C-12

A-12

C-13

A-13

C-14

POINTS

GAMES

COEFFICIENT

15

Veracruz

0

0

0

0

20

9

29

27

1.0741

16

Puebla

22

19

13

19

19

10

102

95

1.0737

17

Atlas

12

20

12

32

12

10

98

95

1.0316

18

Atlante

19

16

20

13

12

15

95

95

1.0000

 

 

Next weekend sees two of the relegation-threatened sides face each other, as Atlas travel to Veracruz for what could be a fate-deciding encounter. Both teams face tough games in Rounds Twelve and Thirteen, with Los Rojinegros playing Chivas then Cruz Azul and Los Tiburones Rojos facing America then Pachuca – meaning a Round Eleven defeat to their rival could be disastrous.

 

The relegation table can be deceiving. Although Veracruz have moved ahead of Puebla, the volatile nature of the coefficient for newly promoted sides still means they are far more at risk of demotion. A defeat next weekend to Atlas would see their coefficient drop back to 1.0357, whereas a defeat for Puebla against Tigres UANL would only see their coefficient drop to 1.0625.

 

Despite being in last place Atlante are the most in-form of the three sides, having picked up three wins and a draw from their last four games. Next up for them is a difficult trip to Mexico City to face the equally in-form Pumas UNAM. Away from the relegation fight Atlante have moved into sixth in the general table, while Atlas stay fourteenth and Veracruz stay last.

 
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