Cruz Azul is top seed in Mexican league playoffs
Cruz Azul and America, two of the most storied and popular soccer clubs in Mexico, finished the Apertura tournament’s regular season in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, and will be the top two seeds in the playoffs.
Cruz Azul, led by Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha, defeated Morelia 2-0 on Friday and claimed first place with 36 points out of a possible 51 in the tournament and an 11-3-3 record.
The victory put some space between Cruz Azul and America, managed by Mexican Miguel Herrera, which beat Veracruz 4-1 and is in second place with 33 points.
The clubs, which share Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, are legendary rivals in Mexican soccer.
The last time they played each other in a final was in the 2013 Clausura tournament, which ended with an epic victory on penalties for America at Azteca Stadium, whose field is being repaired.
Cruz Azul is looking to end a 21-year title drought in the playoffs, with the club’s last championship coming in the 1997 Torneo de Invierno.
The Pumas and Santos Laguna, which played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, finished tied for third place, with 30 points.
Monterrey ended the regular season in fifth place, with 30 points, after dominating Atlas 3-1 on Saturday, while the Tigres, which beat Guadalajara 1-0, are in sixth place, with 29 points.
Toluca is in seventh place and Queretaro managed to book the eighth and final playoff spot by beating Necaxa 1-0 on Saturday.
Tigres UANL French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac was the top scorer in the Apertura tournament, with 14 goals in 17 matches, while Argentine Julio Cesar Furch, of Santos Laguna, was second, with 12 goals.