Week 14 of Mexico's top flight is now done and dusted. In recent days, the conversation regarding Liga MX has surrounded guaranteed playoff spots for two teams, Chivas overcoming a rough patch, and the ejection of hundreds of fans during a disappointing match for 2021 Apertura champions Atlas.
In case you missed any of the action, here are three talking points and some additional notes on Jornada 14 of the 2022 Clausura tournament.
Tigres and Pachuca secure spot in quarterfinals
With 32 points each and a few weeks left in the regular season, both Tigres and Pachuca have officially become the first two Liga MX teams to earn a place in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Under the current league rules, the top four spots in the table automatically qualify for the quarterfinals, while places five through 12 will battle it out in a wild-card round.
Tigres, who are currently at first place and above Pachuca through goal differential, were dominant during a 3-0 win over Toluca on Saturday. French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac stole many of the headlines with his league-leading 11th goal of the season, but in support, other goalscorers like Juan Pablo Vigon and Sebastian Cordova were impeccable in the midfield.
¡Golazo, golazo, golazo!💎— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) April 17, 2022
Vigón marca el primero de Tigres tras una gran jugada de Córdova y pase de Thauvin.
🐯@TigresOficial 1-0 @TolucaFC 👿
EN VIVO 🔴https://t.co/Pd7ZGvy1ih #SabadoFutbolero #TuClausura2022 pic.twitter.com/6DE1lKLIFx
Vigon, most notably, appears to be at the best form of his career, leading to rumors about the 30-year-old potentially being given his first minutes with the Mexican national team in a friendly later this month.
"Yes, who doesn't want to go," said Vigon with a big smile when asked after the win if he wants an opportunity with El Tri.
Sitting at second in the goal scoring race behind Gignac is Pachuca's Nicolas Ibañez, who scored his ninth of the season in a 2-1 victory over FC Juarez on Friday night. With some help from Bryan Gonzalez's game winner in the 65th minute, Pachuca earned three points and an automatic spot to this season's quarterfinals.
For FC Juarez, meanwhile, the result marked their seventh loss in a row. Veteran manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti --- once Tigres' long-time coach --- hasn't done much to revive the bordertown side that sits last in the table.
Chivas turn things around after tumultuous week
In the lead-up to the game, Chivas' problems began to intensify on Wednesday night during a 3-1 loss to Monterrey. The match, which was marred by instances of anti-gay chants from supporters in the stands at Chivas' Estadio Akron, would eventually prove to be the last for manager Marcelo Michel Leaño.
Although Leaño was fired on Thursday, the situation got uglier as fans aggressively confronted players at their team hotel on Friday night before facing Cruz Azul. Shortly afterwards, the league announced that no away supporters would be allowed for Saturday's game at the Estadio Azteca.
Algunos aficionados de @Chivas tiraron el cerco de seguridad para intentar increpar y agredir a los jugadores del rebaño— CESAR CABALLERO (@ccaballero10) April 16, 2022
Rompieron los vidrios de la entrada del hotel de concentración @ESPNmx @futpicante pic.twitter.com/X4Z8tiGhrC
Despite all that, Chivas and interim manager Ricardo Cadena were able to go toe-to-toe with Cruz Azul when it came time for the match.
Although they eventually went down to 10 men after a red card for forward Alexis Vega, Chivas were well-organized and able to claim three points with a lone goal from Cristian "Chicote" Calderon in the 58th minute.
Gooooool de Chivas ✨🐐— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) April 17, 2022
¡Chicote, como en el patio de su casa, abre el marcador al 58'! ⚽️
🚂 @CruzAzul 0-1 @Chivas 🐐
EN VIVO 🔴https://t.co/NLkedAgKxz#SabadoFutbolero #TuClausura2022 pic.twitter.com/uKQcPqz9bL
The 1-0 victory for Chivas was their first since early March.
"I'm left with the feeling of having a group of players that intends to give the best of themselves, that wants to demonstrate and let us see that they are committed and willing to give the best," Cadena said after the result.
Hundreds kicked out of Atlas' home ground
During a 2-1 home loss for Atlas to Mazatlan last Thursday, nearly 200 fans were ejected from the Estadio Jalisco after anti-gay chants emerged from the stands. During injury time, referee Ismael Rosario Lopez momentarily paused the game after the chants were loudly heard.
After the match, Liga MX released a statement that claimed that "close to 200 fans" were ejected from the game due to "discriminatory shouts." The statement later added that the stadium ejections were "carried out by elements of public security with the support of private security and in coordination with the commissioner of Liga BBVA MX."
Chants were also heard at Wednesday's Chivas vs. Monterrey game, which saw five people ejected from the Estadio Akron, and Liga MX had two days in a row in which the anti-gay yells emerged.
To make matters worse for Atlas, striker Julio Furch will be unavailable for the current titleholders this week against Monterrey after being shown a direct red card in the recent defeat.
- Elsewhere in Week 14 results, a brace from both Milton Gimenez and Rodrigo Aguirre carried Necaxa to a 4-2 win over San Luis; Club America's resurgence continued with a 3-1 away victory against Club Tijuana; Puebla squeezed past Leon in a 1-0 win that featured four reds; a 95th-minute equalizer helped salvage a 1-1 draw for Santos Laguna against Queretaro; and two goals in injury time from Washington Corozo pushed 10-man Pumas to a 2-0 win over Monterrey.
- Speaking of Pumas, the Mexico City club booked their place in the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League final after defeating Cruz Azul in the semifinal round last week. Pumas will go on to face the Seattle Sounders on April 27th and May 4th.
- There will be a quick turnaround in Liga MX with midweek games for Jornada 15 kicking off this Tuesday.
- Liga MX and MLS announced Thursday that an LA Galaxy-Chivas and LAFC-Club America doubleheader is set for Aug. 3 in Southern California's SoFi Stadium. The matchups will serve as a preview for 2023's expanded Leagues Cup tournament that will include all MLS and Liga MX clubs. A source told ESPN that there will not be a Leagues Cup tournament in 2022 but that in addition to the double-header at SoFi Stadium, there will likely be a collection of one-off matches that have yet to be made official.