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The first leg of the Liga MX Apertura 2023 playoff final between Tigres UANL and Club America ended in a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Universitario
Henry Martin broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 51st minute to put the hosts in front
Jonathan Herrera restored parity in the 71st minute after the substitute headed Franciso Cordova’s corner in
Our Pick: Club America to win..
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Club America may not have gotten the best-case scenario they would have aimed for before the first leg of the final. However, it is not the worst result either because the 13-time Liga MX champions will be at home for the decisive second leg. After dodging defeat on the road yet again this season, winning at home in front of their supporters will be the perfect way to end the title drought.
Tigres UANL will be happy with what they got, considering their performance on paper and on the pitch. It was an evenly balanced contest, and the defending champions kept five of their ten attempts on target. The team will be disappointed that they could only convert one of those into something meaningful. The defense looked quite staunch and may not have conceded a goal had there been no penalty, as Club America got just two shots on target in the match.
A draw in the first leg was the most likely result, and now the ball is in Club America’s court. The 13-time champions may not have gained an advantage on the road, but a draw is good enough for them as they can mop up the pieces in their own backyard to clinch their 14th Liga MX title.
After securing a draw in the first leg of the final, Club America has extended their unbeaten streak against Tigres UANL in Liga MX to ten games. In these ten games, the 13-time champions have won eight and drawn two.
The two draws have come in the last two games, and both were at the Estadio Universitario. In Club America’s playground, Tigres’ last win came in the Apertura 2019 playoff quarterfinal first leg. However, they were eventually eliminated after losing the second leg.
The performance of Club America in the final third of the first leg was quite subpar, and the club cannot afford to replicate that attacking performance in the upcoming match. The hosts spurned a couple of good opportunities against the Tigres and could have nabbed a win.
Many opportunities came in the first half, and a majority of the attacks originated from the flanks. However, either the crosses were poor or the shots were wayward. In the second leg, the 13-time champions will need to get their cutting edge back to clinch the title.
The Tigres attack was rendered ineffective in the first leg, primarily due to the stellar performance of Sebastian Caceres.
The 24-year-old center-back won all the aerial and ground duels he was involved in and kept the Tigres attack at bay on multiple instances. Another robust performance like that could help Club America secure the trophy with a clean sheet.
After scoring nine goals and nabbing five assists in 19 appearances, Julian Quinones is aiming to finish as Club America’s top scorer in his debut season.
However, the winger has fired blanks in the last two games and attempted just one long-range shot on target in the last match. In the final game of the season, Quinones will be eager to finish the season on a high with a goal and a winner’s medal.
The chances of Tigres UANL retaining their Liga MX title this Apertura season may have dropped after the outcome of the first leg. Despite that, the visitors are still in the game and have the potential to cause an upset in the second leg.
Tigres put five shots on target, but they were either tame or well-saved by the keeper. In the second leg, the Tigres will hope that Lady Luck is with them as they push for their ninth Liga MX title.
In the first leg, Tigres missed the services of Luis Quinones. On paper, the Colombian has only scored two and assisted four goals in 18 appearances, but his presence in the game has been a massive boost for his club.
Currently recovering from a thigh injury, Quinones may feature in the crucial second-leg encounter and may also make his mark with a critical contribution.
At the end of the first half, Tigres defender Samir went down because of an injury and had to be replaced by Diego Reyes for the rest of the game.
The Brazilian center-back has been an authoritative figure in Tigres’ backline and if he does not recover before the second leg, the visitors could be extremely vulnerable at the back.
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Teams: Club America vs. Tigres UANL
Location: Estadio Azteca
Time: Sunday, December 17 at 8:30 pm ET
How to watch: Univision, Telemundo, Fox Sports, ESPN, Vix and Sling TV
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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