Odds taken from Caesars Sportsbook
The last four meetings between Atlas and Pachuca have ended with the same scoreline, 1-0. Both teams have failed to win their home matches against each other but have two wins each in those four games.
The good news for neutrals watching the match is that these two sides hardly play out a draw. Only three of the last ten clashes have seen the match end in a draw, and two of those were in the Copa MX.
When the two sides met earlier this season, Pachuca won 1-0 at the Estadio Jalisco. The match was truly one-sided, and the scoreline did not do justice to the league leaders’ domination in the game.
Guillermo Almada’s men had 26 shots on goal, 57% possession, and created five big chances in the match. However, they needed an 87th-minute goal from Roberto de la Rosa to get the three points.
To make things even more frustrating for Pachuca based on that performance, Atlas had been down to 10 men for the entire second half of the game. Jairo Torres was sent off right at the end of the first half. The midfielder’s sending off saw the home side sit deeper, and they managed to take just three shots on goal in the second half – none of which were on target. They had their backs to the wall, but almost managed to get a point off the table toppers.
It’s this trademark stubbornness that we’ll expect to see once again from Atlas as they host the first leg of the final – which is also a first step at potentially doing the double in the Liga MX as they already hold the Apertura crown.
Atlas have not been at their best lately and have been struggling to get the results going their way. In their last 10 Liga MX matches, they have won just four times, but that has somehow helped them reach the Clausura final.
In the league, their final six matches saw them crawling their way into the top 4, despite being in the driver’s seat at one point. They won two, drew two, and lost two of those matches to end just a point above 7th placed Monterrey. Club America, Puebla, and Guadalajara also finished a point behind them and if two of those sides had picked up more points, Atlas would have been pushed to the reclassification round.
Atlas lost their first match in April to Cruz Azul and that kicked off their poor run. Santiago Giménez’s lone goal was enough to separate the two sides and the away team was left ruing their missed chances. Atlas had 13 shots on goal but managed to get just two on target and none got past the keeper.
They managed to bounce back to win 2-1 against Club Necaxa, but they had to struggle for it. Julio Furch scored in the first half, but they were pulled back on level terms just 4 minutes after the restart. Rodrigo Aguirre scored in the 49th minute before Julián Quiñones restored the lead in the 72nd minute and that was enough for them to take the three points.
Atlas were then stunned by Mazatlan, a side who were struggling to get results at that time. Gonzalo Sosa’s brace in the first half helped the away side win 2-1, as Julio Furch’s penalty in the second half was not enough to spark a comeback for Atlas. Their goalscorer ended up getting sent off as well.
The striker’s absence was felt in the match against Monterrey as the sides played out a goalless draw. Julio Furch was back for the game at Toluca and he scored twice to help them win 4-2. Julián Quiñones got a brace while Aldo Rocha scored the opener before he went off injured in the second half. Atlas were held to a draw by Tigres on the final day of the season, but that was enough for them to seal the third spot.
Atlas were nowhere near their best in the quarter finals but still managed to get a 3-2 win on aggregate against Guadalajara. They won the first leg 2-1, but were held to a 1-1 draw in the second.
Atlas finally put in a strong performance against Tigres in the semi final first leg and ended up winning 3-0. Julio Furch, Luis Reyes and Julián Quiñones got on the scoresheet for the home side.
However, the away leg was dramatic and it needed a 100th-minute winner, after 12 minutes were added on. Tigres were 1-0 down (4-0 on agg) at halftime after Julián Quiñones’s goal but scored four goals to level the tie in the 81st minute. André-Pierre Gignac got a hattrick and Igor Lichnovsky added another to complete the comeback. However, Aldo Rocha scored a penalty 10 minutes into stoppage time to seal a 5-4 win for Atlas and seal the place in the final.
Jeremy Márquez is still suspended for Atlas, while Gaddi Aguirre is a doubt.
Pachuca have been the team to beat this season and without a doubt, they are still the favorites to lift the trophy. They defeated all eleven teams that qualified for the knockout stages with them in the league stage and continued their domination in the quarterfinal and semifinal.
They finished the league with just three defeats, all coming at the hands of sides who failed to make it to the top 12 this season. Apart from that, they drew two matches, which also came against the sides who did not qualify for the knockout stage.
In the quarter final, Pachuca were made to struggle by Atletico de San Luis. They held the table-toppers to a 2-2 draw in the first leg thanks to a 94th minute goal from Juan Manuel Sanabria and then took the second leg until the very end. However, Nicolás Ibáñez scored four times in the two legs to help them seal a 5-4 win on aggregate.
The semi final first leg was a similar story, as Club America ahead Pachuca to a 1-1 draw. Diego Valdés handed the home side the league early in the second half before Nicolás Ibáñez scored from the spot to end the match 1-1.
Surprisingly, Nicolás Ibáñez did not get on the scoresheet in the second leg of the semifinal, but Pachuca managed to win the game 3-0 and seal their place in the final. Romario Ibarra scored one in each half, with Erick Sánchez getting the other goal just before half time. Guillermo Almada will be hoping for more of the same from his men this week when they face Atlas in the first leg of the final.
No player is ruled out for Pachuca. Nicolás Ibáñez was shown a red card in the semi final second leg, but it was overturned by VAR, so he will be available.
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|Atlas vs Pachuca Information|
|Teams||Atlas vs Pachuca|
|Time||Thursday, May 26 at 10 pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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