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There are just five games left until the close of the 2014 Clausura, and the battle against relegation is threatening to engulf more clubs. Atlas’ continuing good form combined with Puebla’s dreadful run of results sees the Guadalajara-based club overtake Puebla in the Relegation Table.
Liga MX Relegation Round-Up: Puebla Join Atlante, Atlas & Veracruz in fight
03/25/2014
 
Xolos 3-1 Puebla

There are just five games left until the close of the 2014 Clausura, and the battle against relegation is threatening to engulf more clubs. Atlas’ continuing good form, combined with Puebla’s dreadful run of results sees the Guadalajara-based club overtake Puebla in the Relegation Table. With the two sides set to face each other in two weeks it could yet be the historic "Camoteros" that find themselves occupying last place at the end of the season.


Elsewhere there were good results for both Atlante and Veracruz, with each coming away with valuable points from games against much stronger opponents.


AS IT STOOD


Atlas won last weekend’s relegation head-to-head against fellow stragglers Veracruz courtesy of an early strike from Maikon Leiton. Both teams had finished with ten men after second half dismissals for both Sergio Ponce and Carlos Cardenas.


Atlante missed their chance to leave a beaten Veracruz on the foot of the relegation table as they were destroyed by Pumas UNAM in the capital. The game finished 5-0 and saw Martin Bravo score yet another brace for the hosts.


Puebla were comprehensively outplayed by Tigres UANL, but only lost to a solitary 82nd minute goal from Damian Alvarez. The result saw Atlas move to within touching distance of them in the relegation battle.


Relegation Table: Thursday 20th 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               96               1.0625

16                  Atlas                12         20          12          32          12          13             101               96               1.0521

17                  Veracruz        0             0             0            0            20           9                29                28               1.0357

18                  Atlante           19          16          20         13           12          15              95                96                0.9896


ROUND TWELVE ACTION


Puebla got the Round Twelve action started on Friday evening with a tough trip to the imperious-at-home Club Tijuana. They were comprehensively outplayed by Xolos, losing 3-1 to the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finalists in a one-sided game.


Maicon Santos’ goal for the visitors with five minutes remaining proved to be a consolation rather than a meaningful contribution, as Benedetto, Martínez, and Arce scored for the home side. To compound Puebla’s misery they saw Francisco Torres sent off at the death after the midfielder picked up two late bookings in the 87th and 89th minute.


Next up was Saturday’s early kick-off between Club America vs Veracruz. Veracruz went into the tie knowing they needed to come away with something to help avenge last week’s defeat to Atlas, and they will be very happy to have emerged with a 0-0 draw.


America will be wondering how they didn’t win the game, amassing twelve shots over the ninety minutes, compared to Veracruz’s paltry three. Even the halftime introduction of Luis Angel Mendoza couldn’t change the outcome, as Veracruz’s defence held strong to earn an important point.


Saturday’s late game saw the Clasico Tapatio between Atlas and Chivas take place in the Estadio Jalisco. The match ended 1-1 and gave another vital point to "Los Zorros" in their push towards safety, but sadly the game was overshadowed by fan violence off the pitch.


Chivas led inside ten minutes after a wonderful effort from Mexican international Aldo de Nigris, but were pegged back by the hosts with twenty minutes remaining when Jose Ortigoza nodded home a Flavio Santos cross. We await to hear the full extent of the FMF’s punishment for the violence, but Atlas can expect to play at least one game behind closed doors – a problem they could do without at this crucial stage of the season.


Atlante were the last of the four sides to play, hosting second-placed Toluca in Cancun. Atlante won the game 2-1 thanks to goals Roberto Gutiérrez and Michael Arroyo either side of halftime. Toluca’s Juan Salgueiro scored for the visitors deep into added time, but it was not enough to change the outcome.


For Atlante the game was a great riposte to their critics after last week’s humiliation against Pumas. If they can maintain their form between now and the end of the season they should have enough quality to avoid the drop.


AS IT STANDS


Relegation Table: Monday 24th March

POSITION TEAM          A-11     C-12     A-12     C-13     A-13     C-14     POINTS     GAMES     COEFFICIENT

14                 Chiapas       24           12          15           16          25          13           105               97                   1.0825

15                 Atlas             12           20          12           32          12          14           102               97                   1.0515

16                 Puebla          22          19          13            19         19          10           102                97                  1.0515

17                 Veracruz       0             0             0              0          20          10             30                29                   1.0345

18                 Atlante         19          16           20           13         12          18             98                97                   1.0103


The results see Atlas overtake Puebla in the relegation fight, and there are now undoubtedly four teams in the battle. The difference between Atlas and Atlante is now just four points, meaning anyone could yet finish last.


After looking safe at the start of 2014 by holding an eleven point advantage over Atlante, it’s surprising that Puebla have been dragged into the fight. Unfortunately they have not performed all season, winning just one of their last seven matches, while Atlante, Atlas and Veracruz have all been consistently winning points for the last month.


Interestingly both Puebla and Atlas have exactly the same coefficient. If this happens at the end of the season the positions will be decided on goal difference.


Atlas arguably face the hardest run-in, with difficult games against Cruz Azul, Toluca and Tigres still ahead. However, they go into the final games in the strongest position of the four teams and if they can beat Puebla at home in Round Fourteen they should be safe.


In the General Table Atlante are now in an incredible fifth place, Atlas moved up into twelfth, while Veracruz and Puebla are eighteenth and seventeenth respectively. The league table is the best guide to form, and on current evidence it could end up being one of the teams currently in the last two spots that face the drop.

 
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