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Liga MX: Two injury-time goals by keepers shake things up as playoff race heats up

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Hany Mukhtar scores penalty goal vs. LA Galaxy (0:39)

Hany Mukhtar scores penalty goal vs. LA Galaxy (0:39)

Only three matchdays in Liga MX remain before the start of the playoffs for the 2022 Apertura.

Already qualified for the playoffs are Club America, currently sitting at the top of the table after making some history this weekend. Monterrey and Pachuca also already have their Liguilla invites through recent victories of their own.

Santos Laguna have secured their playoff spot as well, although the bigger news surrounding them is their stunning injury time equalizer from goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo on Saturday. Bizarrely enough, Acevedo wasn't the only goalkeeper to score a late injury time equalizer on the same day as Pumas' Julio Gonzalez also found the back of the net.

Goalkeeper goals included, there's plenty to cover from Week 14, so in case you missed anything, here are three talking points and some additional observations.

- Liga MX standings | Liga MX coverage on ESPN Deportes
- Futbol Americas on ESPN+: MLS, Liga MX, USMNT, El Tri


Not one, but two, injury-time goals by keepers

In what could possibly be a first in world soccer, two goalkeepers from the same league scored injury-time equalizers on the same day.

The unpredictable chain of events on Saturday began with Santos Laguna's Carlos Acevedo in an away match against Queretaro. His side down a goal, the Mexican goalkeeper stepped up during a corner for Santos in the 100th minute. Chasing a flicked header from teammate Fernando Gorriaran, Acevedo made contact with the ball and headed in a goal that cemented a surprising 3-3 tie.

Hours later, it was Julio Gonzalez's turn. Seeking redemption for his error that gifted Toluca an early lead, the Pumas goalkeeper ran up during a corner in the 96th minute. With star signing Dani Alves providing a perfectly lobbed cross, Gonzalez headed in the ball to clinch a 2-2 away draw for Pumas.

Two goals, scored by two goalkeepers -- the first time ever in a Liga MX matchday.

"We didn't deserve to lose, I had a really awful mistake," said Gonzalez about his error before salvaging the night with a goal. "Scoring the goal as I did, saves the game."

To add even more of a coincidence to Gonzalez and Acevedo scoring, both goalkeepers came up through the Santos academy.


Cloud nine: Club America set win-streak mark

Even without a few key players due to injuries, suspensions and squad rotation, Club America made history last Saturday by claiming a 2-1 away victory over Necaxa that set a new team record for consecutive victories with nine in a row.

Initially down 1-0 when Necaxa scored in the eighth minute, Las Aguilas would eventually bounce back with second half goals from midfielder Jonathan dos Santos and forward Roger Martinez that helped secure the club record.

It's easy to forget that in July, there were serious doubts about manager Fernando Ortiz and his roster. Kicking off the Apertura with one win in their first five games, all signs pointed to Ortiz potentially losing his job if he didn't turn things around soon. The manager and squad have since responded in breathtaking fashion, claiming nine victories in a row and a current spot at first in the league table.

Following the result over Necaxa, Dos Santos was emotional after scoring his first-ever goal for Club America. The midfielder dedicated the goal to his family and specifically to his father, a former Club America player who died last year.

"I'm playing in the club of my dreams, my dad always wanted me to be here," an emotional Dos Santos said afterward.


Pachuca's Sanchez pushing for role at Qatar

A few eyebrows were raised when 22-year-old Erick Sanchez was given the No. 10 jersey for Pachuca this season, but he's certainly deserved it after a few of his performances in recent months. On Sunday, he arguably had the best match of his young career so far, excelling in a 6-1 thrashing of Club Tijuana that included two goals and two assists from the midfielder.

A product of Pachuca's well-respected academy setup that has developed players like Napoli's Hirving Lozano and PSV Eindhoven's Erick Gutierrez, Sanchez looks set to become the next big thing to emerge from the club.

For Mexico's national team, manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino needs to seriously consider a spot for the young player in the upcoming World Cup roster. Despite Sanchez only having a handful of caps to his name, he's high up on the list of much-needed attacking midfielders that will soon need to take the place of aging veterans like Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera.

If Sanchez continues to play the way he did on Sunday, it wouldn't be a stretch to see him claim important minutes in Qatar.


Additional observations

- Elsewhere in Week 14: A second half goal from Jesus Gallardo provided Monterrey with a 1-0 away win over FC Juarez, Leon held defensively strong in a 1-0 away victory against Tigres, an impressive solo effort and ensuing goal from Alexis Vega pushed Chivas to a 1-0 win over Puebla, Cruz Azul defeated 10-man Mazatlan 2-0, and Atlas' latest problems continued with a 3-1 loss at home to Atletico San Luis.

- Days after Atlas manager Diego Cocca complained about a lack of rest and injury issues that has led to one win in their last 12 games, the struggling back-to-back Liga MX champions are now set to face defending MLS Cup holders New York City FC this Wednesday in the Campeones Cup.

- Although they noted that the development is nothing new due to his previous involvement in the U.S. national team structure, a representative from U.S. Soccer confirmed to ESPN last Friday that they're tracking the progress of Club America's dual-national Alejandro Zendejas.

- We'll close things out with Toluca. While the entire Mexican soccer world is talking about the aforementioned equalizer against them, Toluca will at least have some solace knowing that they had the coolest tifo of the Liga MX weekend.

A devilishly good demonstration by the Diablos Rojos faithful, for sure.