Impetus’ Jorge Ceron rounds up all the latest action from Mexico’s top tier as the regular season draws to an end (4/5/22).
Above: Tiguana (Xelos) celebrate their dramatic qualification for the Finals with a dramatic goal at the last possible moment. Photo: @XolosFemenil.
The regular season of Mexican women’s soccer came to an end on Monday night, and it couldn’t have ended in a better way, a couple of heart-pounding and exciting games. The top eight sides now head into the Liguilla or the so-called playoffs where the best eight teams face each other.
Week 17 had three games that didn’t impact the final table. Atlas beat León 2-1 at the Jalisco Stadium, in the north of the country. Santos Laguna defeated Mazatlán 1-0, and Pachuca drew 1-1 with Necaxa.
In the latter game, Charlyn Corral (former Levante and Atletico Madrid player, who was the top scorer in Spain in 2017-2018) was still aiming for the top goalscorer’s crown. Corral needed one goal to snatch the award from Alicia Cervantes of Chivas. In the end, Corral failed in her bid.
Speaking of Guadalajara, the top two teams in the table met at the Akron stadium as Monterey took on Chivas. There was not too much to report from other than the fact that four players suffered injuries due to the terrible state of the pitch as a result of some concerts. Chivas won 1-0 with goal from Carlina Jaramillo. Alicia Cervantes did not score but ended up with the top scorer’s award after netting 14 goals. It is important to mention that the goals were scored in just 13 games because she missed several games due to injury and COVID. Cervantes has now scored a total of 64 goals for Chivas.
On Friday the 17th day began with Atletico San Luis against Queretaro. Both arrived with hopes of qualifying for the top eight. They had to win and wait for results, although it was very complicated. Atletico San Luis, which is twinned with Atletico Madrid from Spain, won 3-1, but unfortunately for them the results in other matches didn’t go their way and their finals hopes died.
It was the same case in La Noria, where Cruz Azul needed to win and wait for results. They easily defeated Puebla 3-1 with a double by Magaly Cortés. To qualify they hoped that Xolas de Tijuana would not win.
In the main game on Sunday night, at the Universitario Stadium, two of the great favorites faced each other to lift the trophy of champions. Tigres de la UANL faced América. An additional ingredient was the return of Katty Martinez, (second highest scorer in the league’s history) to Nuevo León, but now dressed in the América shirt. Martinez was the protagonist of a controversial piece of play when she was tackled by her former teammate Blanca Sierra inside the area but was not awarded a penalty. It was a tight game in which both teams did not show their best weapons and ended 1-1 American Mia Fishel scored for Tigres and Betzi Cuevas tied the game.
Finally, we leave the games that defined everything, on Monday afternoon where Toluca hosted Pumas. Whoever won qualified for the Finals. Even a draw would allow Toluca to make it. Within the opening minute, Toluca took the lead with a goal from Diana Guatemala, and from there they dedicated themselves to defending knowing that only two goals could eliminate them. Yet, with 33 minutes gone, Pumas levelled with a penalty. They then went ahead from an own goal just after the hour. That would have been enough to eliminate the home side. But six minutes from the end, Mariel Roman tied the game and caused joy for Toluca. Yet still the scoring was not over. And in a moment of huge drama, with two minutes left, Marilyn Diaz arrived two minutes from the end and gave the victory to the university students and the pass to the finals. It was a great game.
The season ended with a match between border teams, Tijuana and Juarez. Tijuana needed to win to qualify for the Finals at Cruz Azul’s expense. It took over 70 minutes until major incident and then it all happened. Silvia Elicerio arrived to score Juarez’s first goal, but nine minutes later, Renae Cuellar tied the game. The closing stages were high drama. Juarez scored a second with three minutes left. A minute later, Xolos tied and then seven minutes of stoppage time was announced. Incredibly, in the last of those minutes, Esmeralda Verdugo scored a goal that gave Tijuana victory.
The Quarter-Finals will be played on Thursday and Monday.