By MARC SERBER
The Liga MX playoffs are set, but they will not feature 2012 Apertura champions Club Tijuana who finished in 10th after a 5-0 thumping away to Club Leon. The glaring defeat and failure to guide Xolos back to the knockout stages also cost head coach Jorge Almiron his job. The Argentine was fired almost immediately after the final whistle.
Club Leon’s emphatic victory catapulted Los Panzas Verdes into 3rd and they held onto their top three spot as Cruz Azul could only draw 2-2 away to Pumas on the final day of the regular season.
Leon striker Mauro Boselli scored four goals in the rout, including a hat-trick in the final six minutes plus stoppage-time alone, as Xolos slumped to their sixth defeat of the campaign. Summer signing Dario Benedetto was sent off midway through the first half to add insult to the embarrassing defeat.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of the Liga MX action from the final week of the season
FINAL DAY VICTORY PUTS TIGRES INTO THE PLAYOFFS
A 52nd minute own goal from former D.C. United defender Facundo Erpen, was enough to put Tigres UANL into the playoffs. The win drew the Nuevo Leon side level with Chiapas on 25 points and identitcal records at 6-7-4, but Tigres advanced on goal difference with a +3 compared to Chiapas’ +1.
Chiapas route to the playoffs looked easy. The Jaguares needed only a point from its final match, away to 17th placed Atlante, to advance and keep Tigres on the outside looking in.
The visitors held onto the final playoff spot in Cancun for 85 minutes until Alberto Garcia broke the deadlock off a feed from Angel Sanchez.
Any chance of a Chiapas revival was put to rest just two minutes later as Sanchez would find the upper corner to hand the 17th placed team just their third win of the season.
QUERETARO ALSO IN AT THE LAST
After stearing relegation in the face just months ago, the White Roosters find themselves in the playoffs after winning 1-0 away to Pachuca. Wilberto Cosme’s Stoppage time strike elevated Queretaro from ninth in the table to 7th.
It is a huge achievement for a side that finished 8th last season but were unable to take part in the Liguilla because of relegation are now begining to prepare for a matchup with Santos Laguna in the 2013 Liga MX Apertura playoffs.
Here’s a look at the entire list of matches from Apertura Round 17 in Liga MX:
Morelia 1, Puebla 0
Santos Laguna 2, Veracruz 2
Club America 1, Toluca 1
Atlante 2, Chiapas 0
Monterrey 2, Guadalajara 1
Pachuca 0, Queretaro 1
Club Leon 5, Club Tijuana 0
Atlas 0, Tigres UANL 1
Pumas UNAM 2, Cruz Azul 2