Jesus Zavala of Monterrey celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the FIFA Club World Cup 5th Place match between Club de Futbol Monterrey and Esperance Sportive de Tunis. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Mexican Primera, Week 9: Cruz Azul, Chivas, Morelia Among The Big Winners

Cruz Azul and Chivas finally played up to their talent level, Tecos continued to play down to theirs, and Oribe Peralta netted four goals in Week 9 of the Mexican Primera's 2012 Clausura.

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Mexican Primera, Week 9 Recap: Chivas, Cruz Azul, Oribe Peralta Waking Up

Some of Mexico's best teams and best players decided that they were finally going to play like it in Week 9, after many weeks of disappointment. Oribe Peralta went crazy with four goals, Cruz Azul scored four as a team in a big win, and Chivas Guadalajara won their second straight. In less positive news, Estudiantes Tecos are a bad team.

Tecos will be relegated for the first time

Okay, so they're not mathematically down yet, but things are looking very grim for Tecos. Atlas is currently on a path to improve their coefficient, but if they slip a bit and do not move up or down from where they are at the moment, Tecos will need 16 points from their final eight matches this season. In their current form and with their roster, this appears almost impossible.

Tecos lost 2-0 to Tijuana on Friday, and their defending was woeful. United States international Edgar Castillo set up Jose Sand for the opener by weaving through four defenders. Their attack looked anemic. Veteran defender Duilio Davino got himself sent off after the final whistle out of frustration. It's all going horribly wrong at the Tres de Marzo.

Cruz Azul learned how to score

'Chaco' Christian Gimenez scored his third and fourth goals of the season, 'Tito' Emmanuel Villa scored his fifth and Omar Bravo finally scored his first for Cruz Azul this weekend as the Blue Machine defeated Monterrey 4-3 in a thriller. Cruz Azul is now ninth in the table, only out of Liguilla on goals scored.

Early on, it looked like Cruz Azul were on their way to another bad result. Aldo de Nigris scored the game's opener for Monterrey, assisted by Cesar Delgado with a fantastic weaving run and a low cross. Cruz Azul answered instantly, with Maranhao drawing a penalty from Ricardo Osorio just three minutes later. Chaco stepped up and converted to equalize.

Set piece defending would be the ultimate undoing of the Rayados. Both of Cruz Azul's next two goals came on corner kicks that were very poorly defended. Humberto Suazo pulled one back for Monterrey on a crazy deflection, but Tito Villa clinched the win for Cruz Azul with his 82nd minute goal. Jose Maria Basanta scored Monterrey's third in garbage time.

Morelia are Mexico's best

Queretaro probably aren't in any danger of getting relegated due to the putrid form of Tecos, but they should probably try to improve on their performances anyway. They were mauled by Monarcas Morelia, who are top of the table and clearly the most in-form team in Mexico. Miguel Sabah, Edgar Lugo and Rafael Marquez Lugo all scored in their 3-0 victory. Sabah now has seven goals on the year, good for second in the league behind Ivan Alonso.

Oribe Peralta is back

In the 2011 Apertura, Oribe Peralta was one of the Primera's best players. Even while Santos got off to a great start in the Clausura, Peralta didn't, scoring just one goal in his first eight games. He sprang to life over the weekend, scoring four of Santos' five goals in their 5-2 victory over San Luis. Santos went up 2-0 early before Alfredo Moreno of San Luis was sent off, but they incredible scored twice to make it 2-2 at halftime after going down to ten men. Santos made the most of their advantage after the break, scoring three times to clinch an easy win. They're fourth in the table and just three points off the top.

Chivas have eight games to make up six points

Chivas Guadalajara won their second straight game over the weekend. They still only have two wins and eight points from nine games, but they're not totally out of the Liguilla race. The teams currently sitting in seventh, eighth and ninth place all sit on 14 points. Chivas have eight games to make up a six-point gap on one of them, something that doesn't seem the least bit unlikely. As terrible as their early season form was, they are one of the most talented teams in Mexico and shouldn't be losing five games in an entire season. They lost five games in less than half of a season this Clausura.

Scores

Estudiantes Tecos 0-2 Club Tijuana
Cruz Azul 4-3 Monterrey
Queretaro 0-3 Monarcas Morelia
Santos Laguna 5-2 San Luis
UANL Tigres 1-0 Atlante
Atlas 0-0 Pachuca
Toluca 0-2 UNAM Pumas
Club America 1-0 Jaguares Chiapas
Puebla 1-2 Chivas Guadalajara

For more on the Primera, check out Mexican football blog FMF State of Mind.

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Estudiantes Tecos Vs. Club Tijuana, 2012 Mexican Primera: Xolos Defeat Tecos 2-0

Club Tijuana continued their strong form under coach Antonio Mohamed and defeated Estudiantes Tecos 2-0 Friday. Second-half goals from Pepe Sand and Egidio Arevalo Rios powered the visiting Xolos to victory. The win moves Tijuana closer to staying in the Mexican Primera next season and helps them keep pace in the liguilla race.

The first half was dull from the first whistle, and it initially seemed like neither team would score. Tecos had the better of the run of play, and "Pony" Rodrigo Ruiz had a few free kicks during the half. Ruiz's best chance came in the 23rd minute with a free kick on the left edge of the box. The attempt was pushed over the bar by Tijuana goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo. It seemed Tijuana were content to sit back and wait for Tecos to tire before taking over in the second half.

The Xolos ratcheted up the pressure quickly. Joe Corona, who entered the match at the restart, had a dangerous chance in the 52nd minute, making a run through the Tecos defense before goalkeeper Christian Martinez ran into him and blocked the shot.

In the 61st minute, Tijuana broke the stalemate. American Edgar Castillo made a terrific run along the endline and cut in to take a shot. His initial attempt was blocked, but he followed it and it bounced up in the air off his head. Sand was in the vicinity, and the looping ball bounced off his midsection and into the net. Although Sand poached the goal, it was a terrific individual play by Castillo to set up the score

Following that, Arevalo Rios, who is a defensive midfielder not known for his offensive skills, happened upon a poor clearance in the 81st minute. The clearance bounced directly to him on the edge of the box, and he took the shot on the volley to the far post. He obviously needed considerable skill to get that goal, but Tijuana must have known it was their night when he scored.

So with Tijuana's prospects looking up, where does that leave Tecos? Their chances of avoiding relegation at the end of the tournament are growing more and more unlikely. The reality grows week by week that they will dig themselves into such a hole that they won't be able to fight their way out. Although Queretaro and Atlas are not doing particularly well, Tecos' futility is making a relegation battle less plausible. At this point, it seems like relegation is Tecos' and their streak of staying in the top flight will end at season's end.

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