Chiapas take winning run into Mexico quarter-finals

MEXICO CITY, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Former Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe's Chiapas are the form team going into the Mexican Apertura championship knockout rounds starting on Wednesday.

The Chiapas Jaguars, looking for their first Liga MX title, beat Pachuca 3-2 on Saturday for a fourth successive win and fifth match without defeat to secure fourth place in the standings.

The top eight in the 17-round league phase ending on Sunday go through to the quarter-finals with Chiapas meeting UANL Tigres, who qualified in fifth.

Toluca climbed to second with a 3-1 win over Monterrey on Sunday and face Puebla in the last eight.

All four goals came in the last 17 minutes with strikers Enrique Triverio, who netted a brace, and Fernando Uribe scoring for Toluca and Argentina 2014 World Cup defender Jose Basanta pulling one back.

La Volpe, who was controversially sacked by Guadalajara in April, 2014 after less than a month in charge, has steered Chiapas into the knockout rounds in his first six months as their coach.

It took the Argentine a year to settle the legal terms of his departure from Chivas for an alleged indecent approach to a female member of staff before he could seek another job.

Chiapas stepped in to appoint him in May for the Apertura, the first of two championships in the Liga MX season, that kicked off in July.

Fans of Tigres, who have French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac as top scorer, showed their support for France after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed, by lifting hundreds of yellow cards with a peace sign in the form of the Eiffel Tower.

On his return in midweek from international duty, Gignac said he was happy to be living in Mexico "because Europe is not well at this time... There is a lot of insecurity."

Gignac, whose side drew 0-0 against Cruz Azul on Saturday, has scored 11 goals in 14 matches, two less than top-scoring Argentines Mauro Boselli, who struck twice in Leon's 3-0 win over Sinaloa, and Emanuel Villa of eliminated Queretaro.

In the other two quarter-finals, all of which will be played over the next seven days, league phase winners UNAM Pumas play eighth-placed Veracruz and record 12 times champions America meet Leon.

Title holders Santos Laguna, winners of last season's Clausura championship, were away to Guadalajara in the last match of the weekend looking to avoid finishing bottom.

Spaniard Francisco Ayestaran said during the week his 11th league match in charge of Santos would be his last. He replaced Portuguese title-winning coach Pedro Caixinha in August. (Additional reporting by Carlos Calvo; Writing by Rex Gowar; editing by Justin Palmer)

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