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The quarter-finals of the Liga MX’s post-season playoffs are now complete having claimed the top four finishers in the regular season as casualties. It means Chivas will play Santos Laguna and Pachuca will play Queretaro for a place in the 2015 Clausura final.
Top Four Seeds Eliminated in Liga MX Quarter-Finals
05/18/2015
 
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By Dan Price


The quarter-finals of the Liga MX’s post-season playoffs are now complete having claimed the top four finishers in the regular season as casualties. It means Chivas will play Santos Laguna and Pachuca will play Queretaro for a place in the 2015 Clausura final.


America lose their cool, Matosas could lose his job

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America’s two-legged game against Pachuca was the undoubted tie of the round. After Pachuca’s thrilling 3-2 win in the first leg, Michael Arroyo’s sensational 87th minute free-kick had put America 3-2 ahead in the second leg and left Las Aguilas three minutes from progressing.


Pachuca had other ideas, and a 91st minute penalty and a 94th minute breakaway goal gave them a 7-5 aggregate win.The result could cost manager Gustavo Matosas his job.


For America, it was a controversial end to a rollercoaster season. They ended the game with nine men – Paolo Goltz was sent off in the 33rd minute, while Pablo Aguilar was sent off in the 93rd minute in the aftermath of the penalty decision.


Ordinarily, a season that ended with a league title and continental championship couldn’t be described as anything other than a success – but for America it has been a deeply divisive twelve months.


Matosas has never received the full backing of the fans, with lots of supporters still furious at the club for the way it treated former manager Antonio ‘Turco’ Mohammed. Throughout the Clausura, they’ve struggled for consistency, conceded too many goals, and found it difficult to adapt to Matosas’ methods.


It’s vital that the summer brings about some introspection and self-examination. What do America want to be, a club that wins titles or a club that sacrifices success for pleasing-on-the-eye football? To play beautiful football and win consistently is a holy grail of managers around the world – very few perfect it. It is unrealistic for fans to demand both.

Marco Fabian and Chepo prove anything is possible

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A first half Marco Fabian hat-trick helped send Chivas through against bitter local rivals Atlas. It was the second time in the 2014-15 season that Atlas had been eliminated in the quarter-finals of the playoffs.


Chivas are now on the verge of achieving something truly magnificent. To be two games from the final was beyond even the most ardent supporter’s wildest dreams in January – but Chepo de la Torre has revitalised the team.


They did exactly what was needed over the winter, with the manager and the owners making all the correct off-field decisions for the first time in years.


Chepo, whose reputation was as low as feasibly possible after being sacked from the national team in 2013, has now seen his stock catapult back up to dizzying heights. Meanwhile, Marco Fabian – whose career was in danger of fizzling out eighteen months ago – will surely now be finding himself on the shopping list of several European clubs.


It only proves the old adage that nothing lasts forever – reputations, poor form, relegation woes, or even success.

Tigres Copa Libertadores consolation

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Regular season winners Tigres were dumped out by Santos Laguna on Saturday night, and must now go to Ecuador to face Emelec on Tuesday night.


There was a palpable sense of disappointment in El Volcan at fulltime, but with the club now free to focus on becoming the first Liga MX semi-finalist in the Copa Libertadores since 2010, the disappointment could soon be forgotten.


The semi-finals will clash with the Gold Cup, so there is a chance Tigres will be shorn of some of their best players – but time will tell.

 
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