Liga MX: A look at the managers in the Clausura 2018 final
The Liga MX Clausura 2018 is down to 180 minutes of play as Santos Laguna and Toluca will face off in the final of the tournament. The first-leg will be played in Torreon at the Estadio TSM Corona this Thursday, May 17.
Apart from the goalkeeping matchup on the field between Jonathan Orozco and Alfredo Talavera, there will also be another clash between keepers in this encounter. This will be a duel between the current managers and former Liga MX shot-stoppers, Robert Siboldi and Hernan Cristante. Both players were born outside of Mexico, played in different eras, but both left their mark in Mexican football. Robert Siboldi started his career in his native Uruguay with Penarol, where he played from 1983-1988.
He then went on to join Gimnasia La Plata in Argentina, where he was Hernan Cristante’s teammate for a short while. After his time in La Plata, the Uruguayan keeper finally hit the Liga MX in 1989 with Atlas, where he played from 1989-1992. The South American shot-stopper became a respectable name in the league and went on to have stints with Cruz Azul and Puebla before finally joining Tigres UANL in 1995. Siboldi became a household name among Tigres’ fans as he helped the team get back into the Liga MX with an Ascenso MX championship in 1997.
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The now Santos Laguna manager played with Tigres UANL from 1995-2000 before finishing off his playing career in South America and with Club Gavilanes in Mexico in 2002. Siboldi’s managerial career began in Cruz Azul’s inferior divisions before he became the main boss at La Maquina in 2009. His time with Los Celestes from 2009-2010 was uneventful, to say the least, but he did get back on track later on in his career with Santos Laguna’s youth teams.
After “Chepo” de la Torre’s dismissal in the Apertura 2017, Siboldi finally received a chance to coach Los Guerreros and now he has solidified his role after serious speculation. The Uruguayan strategist led the Celestial Warriors to a fourth-place finish and has already taken down Tigres UANL and Club America on the path to this final.
Hernan Cristante had a much more illustrious playing career as he achieved legendary status playing for Toluca in net. The Argentine keeper started his playing career with Gimansia La Plata in 1989 before joining Toluca in 1993. He had a few loan stints from 1994-1998 before bursting onto the scene with Los Diablos Rojos in 1999.
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Cristante became a fan-favorite and a vital piece to five Liga MX championship teams for Toluca from 1999-2010. The Argentine ended his playing career with Leones Negros in 2012 and kick-started his professional career as a manager four years later with Tepic. After his short stint with Tepic, Cristante returned to Toluca, but this time as a manager in 2016.
The 48-year-old led Toluca to a first-place finish in the Clausura 2018 and took down Monarcas Morelia and Club Tijuana to get to this final. The former goalkeeper is yet to win anything as a manager and will be looking to get into Toluca’s history books once again.