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Chivas Guadalajara provides blueprint on how to defeat Cruz Azul

Miguel Angel Ponce
Chivas proved that if you set deep and let Cruz Azul have the ball, you can stifle its creativity.

Another wild weekend of the Liga MX 2019 Clausura is in the books. Here are five takes from the second round of matches:

1. Cardozo masterminds Chivas win over Cruz Azul

It's becoming increasingly clear that Cruz Azul has a problem breaking down well-drilled and compact defenses and Saturday saw Chivas coach Jose Cardozo lay down a template of how to defeat Pedro Caixinha's side. Other teams will surely follow suit.

Chivas sat back, let Cruz Azul have the ball (60 percent possession), remained patient and was eventually rewarded with a 1-0 victory thanks to a 79th minute goal from Ronaldo Cisneros. Goalkeeper Raul Gudino only had one save to make all game, as La Maquina -- used to doing damage on transitions -- showed its creative limitations.

That makes it six points from two games for Chivas, but the significance of the win for Cardozo goes beyond the points: Perhaps for the first time since he took over from Matias Almeyda we saw Cardozo's hand clearly in a positive display. The plan was good and the players executed it expertly.

Cardozo came into this Clausura almost as a sitting duck, but this was evidence that he could yet succeed at the Guadalajara club.

2. Patino needs reinforcements at Pumas

When Pumas lost 6-1 to local rival Club America in the second leg of the Apertura semi, it was an historic embarrassment tamed somewhat by the fact the club and coach David Patino had overachieved just by getting that far.

A home game against Veracruz followed by a trip to Aguascalientes to play Necaxa appeared like a gentle start to the Clausura to get Pumas back on track. But it hasn't been pretty so far, with the 2-1 loss to Necaxa on Saturday coming off the back off a dour 0-0 draw in week one against Veracruz.

"It's week two, we lost away, the team tried, ran and we lost concentration, which cost us goals, but the team fought and this [tournament] is only just beginning," said Patino after the game.

It was a fair assessment, but Patino also mentioned that he'll be looking to meet with club directors in the week to discuss new transfers. This Pumas team certainly needs some investment, but it's unlikely that the money is there, meaning Patino will need to perform a minor miracle to make the postseason.

3. Alvarez staking claim in midfield for America

The debate over Edson Alvarez's best position is real. The 21-year-old sees himself as a center-back, played at the World Cup as a right-back and netted twice in the final of the Apertura as a central midfielder.

On Friday, he was once again in midfield as America defeated Atlas 2-1 in a fairly comfortable victory. And the youngster impressed with his combativeness, ability to cover ground and effective passing.

When Colombia international Mateus Uribe returns from injury, Miguel Herrera will have a problem in deciding where to select Alvarez, with the partnership alongside Guido Rodriguez as solid as you are likely to get.

Playing a 4-4-2 formation, America clicked back into gear without too many complications in the reigning champion's Clausura debut. Diego Lainez obviously wasn't involved following his move to Real Betis and Paraguayan Cecilio Dominguez, who has been linked with a move to Independiente, stepped up and scored.

4. Mexican goals dwindling

Mexico coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino started scouting games in person this past weekend and can't have been too impressed with one particular element of what he saw: Mexicans scoring goals.

A total of 21 goals were netted in the Clausura in week two, only four of which came from Mexicans, including a Luis Fuentes own goal.

In fact, only 10 of the 40 goals scored so far this season -- excluding the own goals -- have come from Mexico-eligible players.

Finding strikers to back up Javier Hernandez and Raul Jimenez was a problem for former El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio and it's an issue with which Martino is also set to wrestle.

5. Lobos BUAP early surprise package

Toluca, Chivas and ... wait for it ... Lobos BUAP are the only perfect teams after two rounds of matches. The minnows from Puebla defeated Veracruz 1-0 away on Friday in something of a relegation battle. The result leaves Lobos BUAP almost out of relegation danger, while the university club has every chance of making it three wins from three next weekend at home to Necaxa.

At the other end of the table, Morelia, Queretaro and Tijuana are still without a point, with Oscar Pareja's Xolos losing 3-0 to Tigres on Saturday.

In other results, Leon came back to tie 2-2 against Monterrey, Pachuca put last weekend's heavy defeat to Rayados behind it to win 3-0 versus Queretaro, Toluca won 2-0 against Puebla and Santos Laguna defeated Morelia 1-0 on Sunday.


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