MEXICO: Chivas salvage clásico tapatío draw



All eyes were on Guadalajara for the final game of Round 12 for the clásico tapatío between Chivas and Atlas despite the disarray that both sides find themselves in. One of the great games in Mexican football, at present, pits two sides in woeful form and in the midst of a relegation battle. Local bragging rights aside, both sides are in dire need of wins and so the 1-1 draw was neither unsurprising nor particular useful for either. The result was not without controversy though, as Atlas and their Manager, Omar Asad were left outraged at the refereeing that they felt robbed them of the victory.

The state that both sides find themselves in and the fact that both sides are already out of the playoff equation meant that there was a subdued atmosphere inside the Estadio Omnilife but before kickoff the surprise was Juan Carlos Ortega’s team selection. The exclusion of Rafa Marquez Lugo, particularly, seemed a strange choice, but Ortega maintains this was tactical.

The direct style of Atlas caused the Chivas defence problems and so it came as no surprise that it was via set pieces that the Rojinegros looked most dangerous. The warning signs were there in the 7th minute when Atlas thought they had taken the lead through a Matías Vuoso header only for the referee to disallow the goal.

However, Atlas didn’t have to wait long before another set piece did pay off. A corner from the right was swung in and Facundo Erpen rose above everyone to head Atlas in front.

Chivas came back strongly at the end of the first half and if it had not been for some top draw goalkeeping from Miguel Pinto they may have been level. With some momentum and the halftime introduction of Marquez Lugo, Chivas pushed for the equaliser. Atlas resorted to an even more direct approach as the pace of Chivas’ attack probed on the counter.

With time running out, Marco Fabian played a one-two with Marquez Lugo around the Atlas penalty box and then fiercely struck the ball past Pinto to level matters. A much improved second half performance was deserving of the goal but there was still time for more controversy.

The game was heading for a draw when Vicente Vuoso was clearly brought down by youngster, Héctor Reynoso López as he rolled him in the box. Atlas thought that they had a penalty but once again the referee had other ideas.

At the final whistle, the players and Manager, Omar Asad made it very clear what they thought of the two key decisions that changed the game. With this in mind, Chivas will perhaps feel a little fortunate that they avoided defeat. Clasico or not, both sides were in dire need of a win so the draw does little to improve the mood or the standing of either.


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