Home teams Monarcas Morelia and Atlas FC picked up slim leads in the first leg matches of the Liga MX 2017 Clausura quarterfinals. Both Morelia and Atlas took 1-0 wins at home against Tijuana Xolos and Chivas Gudalajara respectively. Both teams will now need to travel and close out the series away from home but they both will travel with the comforting thought that any draw in the second leg match will see them through to the semifinals.
MONARCAS MORELIA PICK UP SLIM LEAD OVER XOLOS
Tijuana Xolos suffered a 1-0 loss in Morelia against Monarcas Morelia in the first leg match of the Quarterfinals series that pits league leading Xolos against the lowest seeded team Morelia. Miguel Sansores arrived at the far post and managed to get a touch on a long cross and send the ball through the hands of Xolos goalkeeper Gibran Lajud to give the hosts the early lead in the 10th minute.
Visiting Xolos took the goal conceded in stride and did not deviate from the patient game plan. The Xoloitzcuintles came into the Estadio Morelos looking to walk away with a manageable result to take back home to the Estadio Caliente for the second leg match on Sunday evening.
Xolos did not go crazy pushing forward looking for an equalizer and even sat back at time trying to prevent a second Morelia goal. The Miguel Herrera substitutions during the second half all looked like he wanted his team to see out the game as is (down 1-0) rather than push the team forward for a goal.
Club Tijuana will now need to come back home and look for a win. A 1-0 win would see the Xolos through to the semifinals due to the team’s better table position in during the regular season. But if Morelia is able to net a goal at Estadio Caliente, the Xoloitzcuintles will be required to win the match by a two goal difference (3-1, 4-2, 5-3, etc) in order to avoid another quarterfinal exit.
Home side Morelia was also content to see out the 1-0 win and did not try too hard to find a second. Morelia achieved their two main objectives in this first leg match. They walked away with a lead and they held the most powerful Liga MX attack to a shutout and did not give away an away-goal. A Tijuana goal would’ve been devastating for Morelia as they would have been required to win at Estadio Caliente on Sunday or take a draw with two or more goals.
The return leg of this series is cheduled for Sunday May 14th at 6:00 pm (Pacific) / 9:00 pm (Eastern). The game will be shown live in the U.S. on Azteca America.
ATLAS TAKES ROUND ONE IN GUADALAJARA CITY DERBY
A 30th minute penalty by Matias Alustiza was enough for Atlas FC to take round one of the Guadalajara city derby playoff edition against crosstown rivals Chivas Guadalajara.
Visiting Chivas looked to be the more aggressive team in the early minutes of the match. Chivas wanted the valuable away-goal and were attacking from both sides of the field. Atlas defense held on and slowly begun to push forward. Chivas suffered a blow in morale when team vice captain Jair Perreira had to be subbed out in the 14th minute due to an injury.
Chivas pushed forward with everything they had in the second half. Atlas sat back and focused on not allowing that away-goal. Atlas still had a few opportunities through dangerous counter attacks but their main priority throughout the closing half was defensive.
Atlas got the job done and takes the 1-0 lead across town to Estadio Chivas where on Sunday any draw would see them to the semifinals. Chivas would advance to the next round with a 1-0 win due to better table position but if Atlas scores one goal, Chivas would be required to win by two goal difference.
Kickoff in the return leg is scheduled for Sunday May 14th at 4:00 pm (Pacific) / 7:00 p.m. (Eastern) and will be broadcast live in the U.S. on Univision and Univision Deportes Network as well as on Faceebook LIVE with English commentary.