MEXICO CITY, Oct 2 (Reuters) - America and Guadalajara are the biggest rivals in Mexican soccer but are currently poles apart in the league as they prepare for Sunday's "clasico" at the Azteca Stadium.
Champions America, nicknamed Las Águilas (the Eagles), are soaring at the top of the table with 28 points from 11 matches and are almost certain to qualify for the eight-team Apertura championship playoffs at the end of the season.
America, whose 2-0 win against Tijuana at the Azteca on Tuesday was their eighth in a row at home, are 13 points ahead of ninth-placed Puebla with a game in hand. Puebla have just five matches left.
In contrast Guadalajara, called Chivas (the Goats) and 11 times league champions, have just eight points from 11 matches and are struggling fourth from bottom with only one win this season.
"It's not possible that with such a great history as Chivas we should have that number of points in this tournament," said Juan Carlos Ortega, Chivas' second coach this season.
Ortega, quoted by El Universal's sports website (www.centraldeportiva.com), said he would not quit if Guadalajara lost on Sunday after taking only four points from four draws in six matches in charge.
"It hasn't even crossed my mind. The players are convinced we're on the right track and so is Jorge (Vergara)," Ortega said referring to the club's owner, a billionaire businessman and film producer.
"What we're building will give the club stability. Some day you'll realise what's happening at Chivas."
Vergara, however, lost patience with two previous coaches as Guadalajara struggled and failed to get back to the top of Mexican football.
The experiment with Johan Cruyff's consultancy ended when the Dutch great's choice of coach, former Dutch international John van't Schip, was sacked and replaced by Ortega's predecessor Benjamin Galindo, who left in August.
Ortega said he paid little attention to rumours that Jose Manuel de la Torre, sacked as Mexico coach last month and the last man to steer Chivas to a league title in 2006, was in line for a return. (Additional reporting by Carlos Calvo; Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires Editing Tony Goodson)
- Sports & Recreation
- Juan Carlos Ortega