MEXICO CITY, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mexican championship
pacesetters Pumas UNAM crushed 10-man Estudiantes UAG 5-1 to
open a three-point lead in Group Three of the Clausura on
America beat Toluca 4-3 in a thriller at the Azteca to join
Atlas, who beat Apertura champions Monterrey 1-0 on Saturday,
and San Luis on 13 points in a three-way lead of Group Two.
Pumas, the only unbeaten team after eight matches whose
old-fashioned 4-2-4 system is paying rich dividends, scored
through five different players.
They were two up through Paraguay defender Dario Veron and
midfielder Israel Castro when UAG had defender Gustavo Cabral
sent off in the 66th minute for a second booking.
Pumas conceded a goal three minutes later to UAG's Israel
Lopez before scoring three more in a late flurry through
forwards Javier Granados and Dante Lopez and substitute Carlos
With 18 points, Pumas are three ahead of Morelia, who beat
Atlante 2-1, and four in front of Cruz Azul, held 1-1 at
Queretaro on Saturday, in the group standings.
America, one of Mexico's most popular teams, recovered from
three defeats in a row, two in the league and one in the South
American Libertadores Cup.
Midfielder Angel Reyna gave America a 1-0 half-time lead
before an exhilarating start to the second half produced four
goals in six minutes with the pick being Argentine playmaker
Daniel Montenegro's shot from outside the box.
Defender Diego Novaretti scored twice for Toluca, who had
substitute Luis Arias sent off for kicking Brazilian Rosinei
with 14 minutes remaining.
Santos Laguna, runners-up in the Apertura in the first half
of the season, lost 1-0 on Friday away to promoted Necaxa under
new Argentine coach Diego Cocca, who has taken over from sacked
compatriot Ruben Romano.
It was Cocca's second defeat in charge of Santos after a
midweek loss to Cruz Azul in the Concacaf Champions League.
Santos, in Group One, are equal on 10 points with
Guadalajara, Monterrey and Necaxa. They are all seven points
behind leaders Tigres UANL, who beat Puebla 3-0 on Saturday.
The top two in each of the three groups and the two next
best-placed teams in the overall standings after the 17-match
round robin phase qualify for the quarter-finals.
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