The verdict is final: the first two first leg matches of the quarterfinals were soporific. América, Pumas, Monterrey and Atlas disappointed in their presentation in the league. For the first time in the history of the great Mexican soccer party, no goal was recorded in the first two games of this phase. In the University Stadium and the Steel Giant they were registered extremely boring zero to zero.
A sector of the press points to the elimination of the away goal as one of the factors that prompted these fearful positions on the part of the four teams. With the new rule that came into effect during the Grita Mexico 2021 tournament, the tiebreaker criterion is the position in the table, which could generate a more careful and speculative stance in the higher-ranked teams, such as America and Atlas.
After being questioned about it, Santiago Solari, coach of the Eagles, justified his bland approach to the UNAM team and assured that the playoffs in the league last 180 minutes. This statement by the Argentine strategist fell very heavy in the azulcrema environment, but it certainly has some truth. In the last tournament, the capital team was eliminated by Pachuca for a visitor goal and for not having a better strategy for the two games.
The lousy show that was put on in the first two quarter-final teams is obviously influenced by the elimination of the away goal, but it is not the only reason. The Grita México 2021 tournament is the short championship with the lowest scoring quota in history. In this only 332 goals were scored, 32 less than in the Apertura 2014, a tournament that had the sad distinction until now.
The elimination of the away goal is a factor that affects the spectacle and inhibits the teams in their offensive proposal, but this is only one of the aspects that affect Liga MX. The problems are fundamental and more serious than we can imagine. The same system of competition, which rewards mediocrity and punishes perseverance, is an impediment to having a fairer championship.
The design of the Liga MX tournament means that teams go out onto the field not to lose rather than go out to win. The processes of the technical directors are so fragile that any defeat can spell the end of a cycle. With the establishment of the playoffs, this position became more evident. Teams don’t even have to aspire to be in the top eight in the table to fight for the title, which was a very good system in itself.
Competition in Liga MX is on the downside. There must be substantive changes in the competition system for things to change.
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