Chivas and Veljko Paunovic inspired by Canelo Álvarez in Liga MX Apertura 2023 clash against Toluca
Guadalajara haven’t won in six matches but Ricardo Marín’s goal saw them fight back to claim a point against Toluca.
Guadalajara have been on a dreadful run of form in Liga MX’s Apertura 2023 tournament in recent weeks, suffering a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Club América as well as a shock home defeat to lowly Mazatlán. Their struggles looked as if they might continue when they fell behind against Toluca on Sunday, although they used Mexican boxing sensation Canelo Álvarez as inspiration to fight back to claim a point at Estadio Nemesio Díez.
Marín levels for Guadalajara after López opener
Chivas have now failed to win any of their last six league matches and Iván López’s opener just after the hour mark had them briefly staring down a fifth defeat in that run of games. But Ricardo Marín swiftly levelled for Veljko Paunovic’s side, who at least ended the clash on a positive note, if not with a much-needed victory.
Paunovic: “Canelo a great example of how to fight until the end”
Paunovic revealed after the clash that he had used Álvarez’s exploits to motivate his team before kick-off. The Guadalajara native comprehensively defeated Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas on Saturday night, living up to his billing as boxing’s undisputed super middleweight king. He has now won 60 of his 64 fights as a professional boxer.
“I was really inspired watching the fight yesterday,” said Paunovic. “And I told the guys, ‘this is a Mexican who goes there, fights, who knows what he’s doing’. Even though he didn’t win (by knockout), he goes for 12 rounds, is always on the front foot, pushing his opponent back into a corner. Today, we showed that mentality, we took that step, although we still needed to be a little bit braver to go for the win.
“That inspiration can really help us a group. It’s a great example of how to fight until the end in every game.”
Where are Chivas in the Liga MX table?
The draw leaves Chivas in seventh spot in the table, which would be good enough to qualify for the play-in round in the Apertura 2023′s final phase. The top six progress directly to the quarter-finals. Despite their recent struggles, Guadalajara are level on points with Juárez, Atlas and Pumas, who are all above them on goal difference, although they have played a game more than 16 of the other 17 teams in the league.