Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mexican Apertura Enters Tense Final Weekend

It's the final weekend of Apertura 2008 in Mexico, and only three teams - Michael Orozco's San Luis included - have qualified for the Liguilla. It's coming down to the wire, as 11 teams still have a shot at reaching the playoffs. The top two teams from each of the three six-team groups qualify, along with the two best third-place teams.

San Luis qualified for the post-season two games ago, and currently lead the league table with 29 points, three ahead of second-place Pumas. A win against Toluca would solidify their place at the top, ensuring home field advantage in each post-season series. Their biggest task will be to overcome the apparent "Curse of the League Leader," as the team that has finished in first place during the regular season hasn't won the league title since Mexico switched to the short tournament format in 1996.

Jose Torres and Pachuca, however, are playing for all the marbles in their match against Atlas (which kicks off at 8 p.m. et), as they currently sit in third place in Group 1 with 20 points behind the already qualifed Atlante, who has 26 points, and Santos Laguna, who has 21 points. Right at their heels in fourth place is Indios of Ciudad Juarez, who have 19 points and are also trying to qualify. In Group 2, Cruz Azul are on the doorstep of claiming one of the two best third-place spots as they lead Jaguares in their final match. Over in Group 3, Tigres are in the driver's seat for the other berth as they sit in third place with 23 points.

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