Chivas’ run of success continued on Saturday night with a convincing 3-0 victory over visiting Atlético de San Luis. Having defeated Tigres and following that up with a come-from-behind win in the Copa MX against Santos, Chivas was full of confidence entering the game. Atlético, for its part, defeated Potros in the Copa MX midweek and prior to that had a bye week in the league, playing a glamour international friendly versus big brother Atlético de Madrid.
The hosts wasted no time in putting San Luis under pressure with Chivas midfielder Dieter Villalpando winning a free kick outside the area just 20 seconds into the game. The cross caused mayhem in the San Luis six-yard box with San Luis lucky to escape on level terms. Chivas’ Brizuela enjoyed lots of space down the right side and was a nuisance for Atlético all night.
But it was Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez who would open the scoring in minute 14, and indeed, be the main danger man for most of the game. He collected a ball that had ricocheted off of San Luis defender Noé Maya, turned neatly, and placed a wonderful strike in the bottom right corner of goal. San Luis keeper Carlos Felipe Rodriguez was helpless.
Atlético grew into the game, pressuring Chivas high up the pitch. Despite a couple of headed attempts by Nico Ibañez, José Rodriguez was comfortable in the Chivas goal. Ian Gonzalez forced a good reaction save from the Chivas netminder just before the break. Generally, though, he had little to do in the first half.
Neither team made any substitutions to start the second half. Much to the surprise of many Atlético fans, star signing Ricardo Centurion was not on the pitch. After a fairly uneventful first 15 minutes, the game heated up with VAR being called into action. In minute 61, Oribe Peralta was deemed to have been fouled in the area. No Chivas player called for the foul and the referee didn’t see it either. However after reviewing with VAR, the penalty was awarded. Alan Pulido sent the keeper the wrong way and just like that Chivas was in front 2-0.
Meanwhile, it was only after going down two goals did San Luis coach Alfonso Sosa decide to bring on Centurion at the expense of defender Dionicio Escalante. Other than Camilo Mayada, signed from River Plate this summer, none of Atlético’s new signings have been in the starting eleven. One wonders why San Luis’ big signings aren’t getting a full 90 minutes yet.
San Luis, chasing the game at this point, got caught up field on a few occasions. In minute 84, Ernesto Vega raced up the pitch and caused a panic tackle in the area. The referee pointed to the spot right away. Oswaldo Alanís stepped up and blasted a hard shot into the roof of the net. Up 3-0 with only five minutes on the clock, Chivas was happy to maintain possession until the final whistle.
Chivas was full value for their 3-0 victory. They controlled the midfield, were clinical in front of the San Luis goal, and were relatively comfortable in defense. Atlético returns to San Luis with some questions to answer: When will new signings Ricardo Centurion, Germán Berterame and Diego Valdez earn a place in the starting eleven? Will striker Nico Ibañez start to show the same prowess in front of goal that he did in the second division? But most of all, can this team step up from the Ascenso and consistently compete with the big boys of Liga MX?
Man of the match: Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez