As the 2014 Apertura in Mexico heads into the final stretch of the regular season, the race for the title of ‘SuperLider’ – the regular season winner – is hotting up.
Although the regular season doesn’t determine the champion in Mexico (the top eight sides progress into a post-season playoff), final standings are still important.
The regular season winner earns the prestigious title of SuperLider, while a better league position also earns a more favourable seeding in the playoff quarterfinals.
There’s also the small matter of continental places at stake – Mexico’s geographical position means it sends sides to both the South American Copa Libertadores and the CONCACAF Champions League, with the Copa Libertadores qualifiers being determined by the league positions in the Apertura.
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Second-placed Atlas were the biggest beneficiaries of the latest round of fixtures – being the only side from the top four to come away with a win. The fact their 1-0 victory came against cross-city rival Chivas de Guadalajara made the weekend’s results all the sweeter for their fans, and they now move onto twenty four points, a mere two points behind first place.
Leaders Club America were thrashed 4-0 in a Mexico City derby by last season’s SuperLider Cruz Azul, third-placed Monterrey needed a 95th minute equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Club Tijuana, and fourth-placed Toluca draw 1-1 against lowly Puebla.
The surprise results allowed Monterrey’s rivals Tigres UANL to take advantage as they moved into fifth by beating Veracruz 1-0, while Ronaldinho’s Queretaro lost 2-1 against the struggling reigning champions Club Leon. His side now join Santos Laguna, Cruz Azul, Pumas UNAM and Chiapas to make up a group of five mid-table teams separated by two points that are all chasing the top eight playoff spots.