Blanco returns at 41; champions Leon lose 4-2 at Tigres

July 28, 2014 - 2:34:55 am

MEXICO CITY: Former Mexico striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco has returned to the top flight at the age of 41, champions Leon crashed to their second defeat of the new season and Guadalajara have begun another bid to rise back to the top of Mexican soccer.

Blanco, capped 120 times, came on as a substitute for Puebla after an hour of their 0-0 draw at home to Veracruz having last appeared in the Mexican first division for Santos Laguna in 2008 and spending recent seasons in the second tier.

“I’m happy and grateful to the Puebla fans and team owners who gave me this chance to come here... I lacked a goal to take the three points,” Blanco told reporters.

Puebla next face America, the club where Blanco is an idol after playing there for 15 years and helping them win the league title in 2005 and the CONCACAF Champions League in 2006.

America came from a goal down to beat Tijuana 2-1 at the Azteca with Paraguay centre back Pablo Aguilar heading the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Venezuela midfielder Juan Arango put Tijuana in front with an early penalty given away by Aguilar and America equalised in the 68th minute through substitute Raul Jimenez.

Monterrey and America have both taken six points from their two opening matches and they can be caught by UNAM Pumas who are at home to Guadalajara yesterday.

Leon, winners of the Apertura and Clausura championships last season, lost 4-2 at UANL Tigres whose Colombian Hernan Dario Burbano scored twice. Leon have lost both matches this season.

Former Barcelona youth coach Albert Benaiges was named on Saturday as head of youth development at Guadalajara, Mexico’s most popular and decorated team.

The Mexican-born Benaiges spent 20 years at Barca and worked with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta before leaving in 2011.

“Albert Benaiges comes to Chivas with the background and prestige of more than 25 years as a youth development coach and (after playing a) fundamental part in preparing international figures like Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi, among others,” America said in a statement according to El Universal’s sports website (www.centraldeportiva.com).

Guadalajara, whose efforts to rebuild with the help of Dutch great Johan Cryuff’s consultancy in 2012 failed, last won the league title in 2006 and saw arch rivals America catch up with them with a record-equalling 11th crown in the 2012-13 season lose 4-2 at Tigres. REUTERS

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