Second-place Pumas UNAM take on Morelia with top spot in Liga MX in sights

    20 de septiembre de 2018

    Morelia, Mexico, Sep 20 (efe-epa).- The second-place Pumas UNAM will be taking on struggling Morelia this week with the focus on grabbing the top spot in the 2018 Apertura tournament standings.

    Manager David Patiño's squad can take first place if Cruz Azul loses and the goal differential works in its favor.

    Last Sunday, Necaxa defeated Cruz Azul 2-0, handing the Liga MX leader its first loss of the tournament.

    Cruz Azul has a record of 6-1-2 and 20 points.

    The Pumas UNAM, who play Morelia on Friday, have a record of 5-3-2 and 17 points.

    America and Santos Laguna, which are in third place and fourth place, respectively, also have 17 points but trail the Pumas on goal differential.

    Morelia, which has a record of 3-3-3 and 12 points, is sitting in 12th place in the tournament, two points from qualifying for the playoffs.

    Morelia, which made the playoffs in the past three championships under manager Roberto Hernandez, has a record of 2-2 in its last four tournament matches

    Hernandez admitted in a press conference on Wednesday that his team played poorly in its recent matches, a performance that has prompted calls from fans for his firing, but he said he had to stay calm to get his players to start winning again.

    "We have to win on Friday to calm the waters and get close to playoff qualifying. The fans feel it will be a good match, we owe them a win and a good match, and we have to do good things to beat the Pumas," Hernandez said.

    America takes on Puebla on Friday, giving the Mexico City team an opportunity to move up in the standings if the Pumas fail to execute.

    If the goal differential goes in its favor, America can take first place if the Pumas and Cruz Azul lose.

    The Apertura tournament will hit its midpoint this weekend as clubs battle each other in the 10th round of match-play.

    On Saturday, Cruz Azul takes on Atlas in a match that manager Pedro Caixhina's squad must win to lock up a playoff spot early.

    The Apertura tournament schedule for this weekend also has Toluca clashing with Necaxa; Leon taking on the Lobos BUAP; Tijuana going up against Pachuca; Guadalajara taking on Queretaro; Santos Laguna playing Veracruz; and the Tigres UANL taking on Monterrey.