Diego Lainez shines in Pachuca; Cruz Azul and Pumas stay unbeaten
In the third week of the Apertura, all four of Liga MX's "grandes" walked away with points, with Chivas snapping a six-game losing streak that stretched back to last season. Only one team -- Pachuca -- has yet to pick up a a point, whereas three teams have yet to drop a single one. Here are five things we learned from Week 3:
1. Cruz Azul stuns Tigres at the Azteca
The collision of two talented, undefeated teams in Mexico City was undoubtedly the main event of the weekend. Cruz Azul had impressed through its first two games, while Tigres had been their usual stellar selves in the season's first fortnight.
Former Necaxa youth product Roberto Alvarado fired a scorcher past Nahuel Guzman in the 68th minute for the game's only goal. After the opening salvo, Cruz Azul held on for a nervy period in which the visitors completely dominated the game.
Tigres outshot Cruz Azul eight to six, but with French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac out due to injury, the Monterrey side failed to get any of their attempts on target, despite holding 71 percent possession and completing 588 passes throughout the match, compared to Los Azules' 239.
If the game's fireworks were not enough to keep fans involved, the postmatch antics were certainly entertaining. Cruz Azul coach Pedro Caixinha and Tigres goalkeeper Guzman got into it after the former was accused of gloating after the win. During the news conference, Caixinha ripped into Guzman even more, calling him a "bobo" (clown).
2. Diego Lainez double has Club America fans swooning
At the Estadio Hidalgo, the expectation of seeing 18-year-old Diego Lainez starting in an advanced position for Club America was enough to have many fans buzzing ahead of their match against Pachuca.
And the highly touted youngster did not disappoint by scoring two goals in his team's 3-1 away win.
For his first goal, Lainez turned a somewhat harmless pass near the corner flag and drifted into the box, tying up Emmanuel Garcia before cutting back and curling a shot past Alfonso Blanco to hand his side the lead in the 16th minute.
Lainez was a consistent pest for the Pachuca defenders, while his chemistry with Oribe Peralta and Roger Martinez could have easily resulted in more goals for the eventual winners.
Peralta, suffering a long scoring drought, tumbled over a defender and reclaimed the ball deep in Pachuca territory, finding Lainez at the edge of the box. A strong left-footed strike flew past Blanco for the game's second goal. Peralta would later score himself to break his duck, making it three goals from Mexican players on the night for the capital side.
3. Chivas grabs first point as two sent off in Toluca
Red cards were the main story at the Nemesio Diez after referee Cesar Ramos, Mexico's World Cup representative, sent Alfredo Talavera and Orbelin Pineda off in a tense match on Sunday.
Alexis Vega opened the scoring after just four minutes and Toluca looked dominant in the first half before Chivas drew level through Angel Zaldivar's equaliser.
Early in the second half, Zaldivar scored again to give Chivas the lead. Luis Angel Mendoza made it 2-2, but the game took a bad turn. Shortly after Josecarlos Van Rankin's go-ahead goal was overturned, Ramos sent Talavera off for a verbal infraction.
Minutes later, with both teams searching for the game winning goal, Pineda was fouled deep in Toluca territory. He stood up and seemed to strike an opposing player, earning him a red card and killing the game's momentum.
4. Pumas skates past hapless Atlas
Kevin Escamilla, Pablo Barrera and Matias Alustiza combined to give Pumas a simple 3-0 win over one of the worst teams in the league.
Though Atlas managed to outshoot and hold the ball longer than Pumas at the Estadio Jalisco on Friday, Pumas never struggled to maintain dominance over the home team -- especially after Atlas went down to 10 men as Lorenzo Reyes saw red in the 20th minute.
To boot, Atlas had a golden opportunity to go in front before then, but Octavio Rivero missed a penalty kick in the seventh minute. After that, things slowly unravelled for Gerardo Espinoza's team.
Escamilla slammed in a rebound after a free kick from Ignacio Malcorra was slapped away by Jose Hernandez; Barrera made it 2-0 off a free kick of his own, shortly after Reyes was sent off.
Pumas took their foot off the gas pedal for a long stretch, before Almeyda finished things off with a strong right footed strike. The win secured Pumas' spot at the top of the table for another week.
5. Monterrey comes back to keep undefeated start
After falling behind at home against Queretaro, Monterrey tied the match quickly thanks to a Nico Sanchez strike. However, Sanchez missed a penalty four minutes before the end of the first half and the visitors were tough on Diego Alonso's squad throughout the second half, often coming close to retaking the lead.
As the game wore on, Queretaro pulled their attackers back, hoping to secure a draw. Alonso pushed his players forward and Dorlan Pabon hooked up with Aviles Hurtado for the game's defining goal.
The win means Monterrey keeps pace with Cruz Azul and Pumas at the top of the table, while Queretaro dropped its first game of the season, pushing them down to 11th -- five points off the pace.