Liga MX: Nicolas Larcamon's Puebla fairy tale continues after fightback vs. champions Atlas

Although the Super Bowl took center stage in the sporting world over the weekend, it wasn't the only football going on. Liga MX's Week 5 had exciting last-minute goals, off-the-field drama for a league giant, a statement victory for a side who could one day make a claim as being a league giant themselves and much more. In case you missed anything while the Los Angeles Rams were winning Super Bowl LVI, here are three big talking points from Jornada 5.

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The Larcamon show continues with Puebla

On Friday, Puebla were just moments away from their first loss of the season.

After going down 1-0 to Atlas in the 85th minute of a hard-fought battle, it seemed appropriate for Puebla to suffer their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of the title holders. After all, Puebla's story seemed a little too good to be true.

Under the management of 37-year-old Nicolas Larcamon, the Liga MX side with the lowest market value on Transfermarkt had initially kicked off 2022 with three wins and a draw. Up against Liga MX champions Atlas, it appeared inevitable that their undefeated streak would likely come to a close -- especially after conceding in the 85th minute.

And yet, Puebla pushed forward with their usual direct and aggressive style of play.

"This team once again shows that there is always one more chance," said Larcamon after the match. "With them we know that no game is over until the final whistle blows."

A Hail Mary soon arrived in the form of a world-class bicycle kick from Guillermo Martinez. Once a regular in Mexico's second division, Martinez stepped up in the 95th minute and launched the ball into the back of the net.

As a young fan cried tears of joy in the stands, the final whistle blew to make it 1-1. As for Larcamon's Puebla, their fairy tale continues with their undefeated run that has kept them on the top of the Liga MX table.


Cruz Azul face setbacks on and off the pitch

The beginning of Cruz Azul's troublesome week first started when the club released the news of a front office change.

On Thursday, the club announced that Alvaro Davila was no longer with the team, and in his place, Jaime Ordiales would return and take over his responsibilities as sporting director. The unexpected decision reportedly bothered manager Juan Reynoso, who was rumored to have considered leaving his post with the organization. Tensions were reportedly high within the club, and by Saturday, they stumbled to a 2-1 loss at home that featured two goals after the 83rd minute by Necaxa.

The good news for Cruz Azul is that they've weathered a similar storm in the past. Shortly after some behind-the-scenes front office problems in late 2020, they were still able to lift a Liga MX title in the 2021 Clausura. It also must be noted that los Cementeros remain in an excellent position this season with 10 points from their first five matches.

Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see how things develop for the league giants and how a potential meeting between Ordiales and team captain Jesus Corona may alter things.


Tigres finally begin to flex their muscle

With the amount of attacking firepower and talent that's available to them, it's somewhat of a surprise that Tigres don't frequently put up Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich-like numbers in Liga MX. Doing so would do plenty to help garner the respect of media and fans who don't see them as a big team within the country.

That said, Tigres' latest run could be another sign of that eventually changing.

In their match at Chivas on Saturday, Tigres took charge with a dominant 3-1 victory. Guided by superstars like Andre-Pierre Gignac, Guido Pizarro, Florian Thauvin and several others, Tigres were able to clinch their third win in a row. That's now nine goals in their past three matches, and other than Pumas, no Liga MX team has found the back of the net more often than Tigres in 2022.

Coupled with the experience of manager Miguel "Piojo" Herrera on the sideline, Tigres have a chance to significantly boost their stock in a Mexican soccer landscape that feels that they have much more to prove. Given more performances like these, and perhaps a couple of titles as well, and they could one day be in the same conversation as bigger clubs such as Club America, Cruz Azul, Chivas and Pumas.


Additional notes

Mazatlan defeated Club Tijuana 2-0, Toluca earned their third consecutive win through a 1-0 result vs. San Luis, America sneaked past Santos Laguna with a 3-2 away victory and Pumas defeated Leon 2-1. Week 5 will close out with a Monday night game between Pachuca and Queretaro.

In the Club World Cup, Liga MX's Monterrey earned a consolation prize on Wednesday through a 3-1 win over Al Jazira that placed them fifth in the competition. Monterrey initially kicked off the tournament with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Al Ahly in the second round.

Liga MX's race toward another Club World Cup begins this week with the start of the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League. Leon, Pumas, Santos Laguna and Cruz Azul will all be involved in the round of 16 that kicks off on Tuesday.

Last week we saw the results of an annual survey on Liga MX fandom from research group Mitofsky. Based on data from 1,000 Mexican fans over the age 18, Chivas have taken the top spot in popularity within the country away from Club America. Unsurprisingly, Cruz Azul came in at No. 3 and Pumas finished at No. 4 in the study.

To close out the Liga MX wrap-up, we'll end things with a special shoutout for Leon's Luis Montes. Although Leon were losing 2-1 in the final minutes of Sunday's match against Pumas, the midfielder questioned a referee decision that gave a direct red card to Pumas' Washington Corozo. Montes, who was fouled by Corozo, informed the referee that he was not elbowed in the challenge, which led the referee to instead give Corozo a yellow.