Chivas de Puebla KO, in the quarter-finals of La Liga MX

Ayrton Preciado’s game-winning shot came in the 65th minute, propelling Santos Laguna past Atlético de San Luis in a Liga MX wildcard match. (Photo by Armando Marin / Jam Media / Getty Images)

Puebla netted a late equalizer, then outlasted the Chivas in a thrilling penalty shootout to advance to the La Liga MX playoff quarter-finals on Saturday night. Earlier, Santos Laguna sidelined Atlético de San Luis, winning the Wildcard Weekend opener 2-0.

Seventh-seeded Puebla overcame a field disadvantage (Guadalajara fans outnumbered Camoteros fans inside Estadio Cuauhtémoc) to chase the Chivas, recovering twice from deficits of a goal before sending Guadalajara into a winter of turmoil.

The Liga MX Wildcard weekend continues on Sunday as No.11 UNAM visits No.6 Toluca before No.8 Cruz Azul welcomes No.9 Monterrey.

The Top 4 seeds – América, Atlas, León and Tigres – are at home this weekend awaiting confirmation of their travel plans ahead of the real tournament, the Liguilla.

Liga MX midget shoots down Chivas

Guadalajara climbed twice on seventh-seeded Puebla (Isaac Brizuela coming in from inside the halfpipe in the 6th minute and Alejandro Mayorga with a back header in the 62nd minute), but couldn’t finish the ‘case.

Christian Tabó scored 1-1 from the penalty spot in the 20th minute and substitute Lucas Maya netted a corner in the 89th minute to equalize just in time.

The ensuing shootout ended in sudden death, with Puebla winning 6-5 after 16 shots on goal. Chivas goalkeeper Raúl Gudiño blocked two shots from Camoteros and pinpointed two more, but Antony Silva did it better, fending off three penalty attempts from Chivas.

Despite the lowest payroll of the 12 La Liga MX playoff teams ($ 26.2 million), Puebla advance to the quarter-finals against León or Atlas, while cash-strapped Guadalajara is heading towards an uncertain winter break, desperate to review his underperforming roster.

The Chivas have the sixth highest payroll ($ 60.3 million) in La Liga MX but have only managed the 10th seed. The Guadalajara front office would like to reduce the payroll before Clausura 2022, but does not have the funds to restock for a real title race.

Guerreros 2, Tuners 0

Ayrton Preciado and Ignacio Geraldino hit the net in the second half to send fifth-seeded Santos Laguna to the quarter-final against the No.4 Tigers.

The Guerreros outscored the Tuneros (58% possession), topping the visitors 24-11. Had it not been for the good work of goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero (5 saves), the match could have been decided earlier.

These two played a scoreless draw in the season finale, and there were donuts on the scoreboard for over an hour on Saturday night. Then, out of nothing, Santos’ fortunes turned.

Barovero kicked a long ball down the field and Guerreros defender Félix Torres sent it back to midfield as striker Eduardo Aguirre hit back. “El Mudo” controlled smoothly and immediately made a pass into the right channel as Preciado passed his marker. The quick Ecuadorian winger came on goal and shot a ball between Barovero and the near post.

Jeraldino added the score from the penalty spot in the 86th minute, 15 minutes after replacing Aguirre.

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