Liga MX Apertura Playoffs: Monterrey Feeling Confident, Nine-Man America Holds Cruz Azul

Liga MX's Apertura playoffs kicked off this week as the first leg of the quarterfinal stages took place on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Toluca achieved an incredible comeback against Morelia, while Tigres shared a 1-1 result with Leon.   
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Liga MX's Apertura playoffs kicked off this week as the first leg of the quarterfinal stages took place on Wednesday and Thursday evening.

At this point, only Monterrey - who ended in first place in the regular season - has a clear advantage as the Rayados secured a precious 2-1 victory away from home against Atlas. Two goals from Rogelio Funes Mori (Ramiro's twin brother) were enough for the win, but more importantly Antonio "Turco" Mohamed's squad will be feeling confident as they head home for the second leg on Sunday. 

Atlas, looking for its first league title since 1951, needs at least two goals to go through and will be looking for Rafael Marquez's leadership as they visit Monterrey. Marquez, who still can't enter the U.S due to sanctions for alleged drug trafficking ties and whose international career remains unclear, returned to action last month after Mexican authorities cleared him and was allowed to participate in domestic matches.      

Meanwhile, Miguel Herrera's Club America tied 0-0 with Cruz Azul after finishing the game with nine players. It only took 30 minutes for Mateus Uribe to receive a straight red after a reckless challenge, while Edson Alvarez was given a second yellow in the 90th minute. Amazingly, America could have gotten something out of this game as Las Águilas were awarded a penalty shortly after Uribe's red card, but Oribe Peralta's attempt was saved by Jesus Corona.

Despite the result, Cruz Azul should be feeling confident as la Máquina dominated the first leg. The team wants to make the most out of the playoffs as this is a return in the postseason for the first time since 2014. 

Elsewhere, Eduardo Vargas made sure Tigres came away with something against Leon on Wednesday evening and gaining a precious away goal. Leon, however, has the season's top scorer Mauro Boselli and will be hoping he continues his great form as they head into the second leg.

Finally, Toluca achieved an incredible 2-1 comeback against Morelia at the Estadio Nemesio Diez on Wednesday. Two goals in stoppage time sealed the win after Morelia opened the scoring in the second half thanks to Raul Ruidíaz's penalty. 

Much to play for this weekend. Here is the schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

November 25

Tigres vs Leon (1-1) 8pm ET

Morelia vs Toluca (1-2) 10pm ET

November 26

Monterrey vs Atlas (2-1) 7pm ET

America vs Cruz Azul (0-0) 9pm ET