By Dan Price
Less than 48 hours after Tigres and Chivas drew 2-2 in the final game of Week 3, the Liga MX kicked-off again last night with a rare round of mid-week games.
With 18 goals scored across the four games, there was plenty for fans to get excited about.
Monterrey 4-3 Pachuca
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly Monterrey’s stunning victory over Pachuca in the first Liga MX game at the new 51,000 capacity Estadio Bancomer.
When Dorlan Pabon missed an 11th minute penalty, Rayados fans would be forgiven for thinking it might not be their night. By the time Ariel Nahuelpan had put Pachuca 2-0 ahead within thirty minutes, the same fans might have been thinking their new stadium was a curse rather blessing.
Rayados rallied back, however, and goals from Funes Mori and Pabon, along with an own goal by Miguel Herrera, meant they led 3-2 after 65 minutes.
Ruben Botta pulled Pachuca back to 3-3 with twenty minutes to go, and the game looked to be heading for a draw until referee Luis Santander gave Monterrey a second penalty of the night in the 90th minute.
Aldo de Nigris stepped up, missed, but tucked in the rebound – sending the home supporters delirious.
The result leaves Monterrey sixth and Pachuca ninth.
Queretaro 1-2 Santos Laguna
Santos Laguna finally got their first win of the season at the fourth attempt, ending a post-championship hangover which had threatened to derail their season.
Djaniny was the star of the show, scoring a goal in either half. His second was particularly impressive, volleying in a loose ball after the Queretaro defence struggled to clear their lines following a throw in.
Tito Villa was Queretaro’s solitary scorer. The veteran 33 year old striker has enjoyed a stunning start to the Apertura, with last night’s goal taking his tally to three in four games. He only managed five goals in the entirety of 2014-15 season, and only two goals in his last two seasons at Tigres combined.
The win moves Santos up to 14th and leaves Queretaro 11th.
Pumas UNAM vs Atlas (Wednesday, 10pm EDT)
After four games last night, there are a further five games this evening. Potentially the most interesting tie is between Pumas and Atlas in Mexico City.
Both sides have been hard to read this season. Pumas’ performance in their opening day 3-0 win over Monterrey had fans drooling at the prospect of a good season, but they are winless in four games in all competitions since then. League defeats against Toluca and Puebla have been made worse by a loss and a draw against Ascenso side Oaxaca in the Copa MX, and they are badly in need of a win tonight to get their season back on the right track.
Similarly, Atlas also only have one win so far this term – albeit an impressive 3-1 victory over America in the Azteca. They can also take encouragement from their Copa MX performances against Guadalajara rivals Leones Negros, and despite a heavy defeat to Monterrey last time out, still look like a side that should be challenging for honours at the end of the season.
Prediction: Pumas 2-2 Atlas