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Liga MX: Atlas, Cruz Azul top Week 3 performances; Gignac sets Tigres straight

Published on: 24 January 2022

Atlas didn't dominate Club America at the Azteca, but they did take all three points and control of the Clausura in the early going. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Jornada 3 is now in the books. Before pausing for the two-week international break, Liga MX showcased itself with dramatic late goals, three points for defending titleholders Atlas at the Estadio Azteca, impressive displays from a few Mexico national team call-ups, and much more. In case you missed it, here are three big talking points from Week 3 of the 2022 Clausura.

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Fellow 2021 champs Cruz Azul, Atlas move to the top of the table

"Efficient" is probably the best way to summarize Atlas in their 2-0 away win over Club America last Saturday. Although the 2021 Apertura champions were out-shot and out-possessed by Club America at the Estadio Azteca, Atlas only needed four shots in the entirety of the game to solidify a victory that pushed them up to second in the Liga MX table.

While Diego Barbosa and Jonathan Ozziel Herrera should be praised for their goals that secured the three points, Atlas goalkeeper Camilo Vargas was arguably the man of the match with his saves that frustrated Las Aguilas. The 32-year-old Colombian now has two shutouts in his first three games of the season.

Following the win, Atlas manager Diego Cocca said his side aren't going to suffer from "championitis" after lifting the Liga MX trophy last season. As for Club America, who debuted new signing Jonathan dos Santos, the defeat once again highlighted the growing impatience among supporters who are questioning those in charge, like coach Santiago Solari and club president Santiago Banos. Over the weekend, "#FueraBaños" (#BañosOut) was trending on Twitter in Mexico.

Cruz Azul, sitting above Atlas in first, took charge thanks to their 2-2 away draw against Monterrey on Saturday. That said, the 2021 Clausura champions were clearly devastated at the final whistle after allowing two goals in injury time. Monterrey forward and Mexico call-up Rogelio Funes Mori made it 2-1 in the 92nd minute and in the 97th, fellow Mexican international Cesar Montes made it 2-2 with a powerful header.

Cruz Azul, in white, were frustrated by a late draw to Monterrey, but they're still within striking distance of Clausura leaders Atlas after three rounds. Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Speaking of Mexico call-ups, Cruz Azul's Carlos "Charly" Rodriguez is entering the international break on a brilliant run of form. Despite seeing his side stumble to a draw, the midfielder has now had a hand in three goals (one assist, two goals) in his first three matches of the season.

Gignac helps salvage a first victory for Tigres

The Sunday match between Pumas and Tigres truly was a tale of two halves. Pumas initially took charge with a goal in the 31st minute by Jeronimo Rodriguez. The home side continued to test Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman, but after halftime, the visitors who gained some confidence. Substitutions from manager Miguel Herrera revitalized Tigres' efforts and by the 78th minute, forward Nico "Diente" Lopez equalized the scoreline to make it 1-1.

Just when it appeared as though a draw would be inevitable, a review from VAR confirmed a penalty for Tigres' Andre-Pierre Gignac in injury time. The foul was a controversial one, but you can make your own decisions here in the replay:

Once the penalty was confirmed, Gignac rocketed the ball into the back of the net in the 97th minute, cementing a 2-1 win for Tigres. It was the French forward's first goal of the year and Tigres' much-needed first win of the Clausura.

Carlos Gonzalez, who is also looking to notch his first goal of the season for Tigres, will perhaps first need to win the fans over again. Before facing off against his former club, the Paraguayan was caught singing along with Pumas' anthem while standing in Tigres' bench, with video of the awkward moment going viral Sunday.

Necaxa clinch result of the weekend at Santos Laguna

It didn't take long for things to fall apart for Santos Laguna. A poor challenge and direct red for 20-year-old Jordan Carrillo in the 19th minute quickly reduced Los Guerreros down to 10 men, and although they then took the lead via Felix Torres, Necaxa would respond with four of their own before the final whistle.

Two assists from Alonso Escoboza and two goals from Rodrigo Aguirre carried Necaxa to an eye-catching 4-1 away victory -- the first time in nearly two years that Los Rayos collected four goals in a Liga MX match away from home.

There's serious work to do for the club that remain at 12th in the league table, but it's undeniably good news for new owners Mesut Ozil, Eva Longoria, Kate Upton, Justin Verlander, Rip Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Victor Oladipo and others who reportedly bought a stake in Necaxa last year. Recently, the club made waves in the NFT world after announcing that they had become a part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Additional notes

Elsewhere, Juarez defeated San Luis 1-0, Toluca claimed a 2-1 win over Mazatlan, Chivas drew 1-1 at home against Queretaro and Leon beat Pachuca 2-1. Due to a high number of positive cases within Club Tijuana's setup, their match against Puebla was postponed.

Golazos have also been pouring in during the first few weeks of the season, and for Chivas, forward Alexis Vega has done his part to provide plenty of these mesmerizing highlights. In the draw vs Queretaro, the Mexican international collected his second goal in January from a free-kick.

To end the Liga MX wrap-up, we'll let Vega close it out with this incredible goal he scored before returning to Mexican national team duty this week for World Cup qualifiers.

Source: espn.co.uk

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