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Club Leon benefitted from the new play-in format of the Liga MX as they became the eighth-seeded team in the Apertura 2023 playoffs after beating Santos Laguna
Club America finished seven points clear at the top of the Apertura 2023 table with a total points tally of 40
When these two teams clashed in the league phase this season, the game ended in a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca
Our Pick: Club America to win
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While other clubs made the playoffs without additional games, Club Leon had to do it the hard way via the new play-in format introduced this season. In the first play-in encounter for direct qualification, the CONCACAF Champions League winners were defeated by San Luis. However, the club recovered well in the double chance match-up against Santos Laguna and entered the playoffs with a narrow 3-2 win.
There is extreme contrast between the two clubs because while Leon were struggling to make their way into the playoffs, Club America had secured their qualification with games to spare. The 13-time Liga MX champions, Club America, failed to extend their seven-game winning streak after defending Liga MX champions Tigres UANL held them to a goalless draw in the final league phase encounter. However, the 13-time Liga MX champions are undefeated in 16 league games.
Club Leon are among the most resilient teams in the Mexican top division. However, they will be no match for Club America, who are firm favorites to not only win this fixture but go all the way and win a record-extending 14th league title.
These two teams have met 27 times in all competitions since 2012. Surprisingly, Club Leon has a slightly better head-to-head record with 11 wins. Club America have won ten times, and the remaining seven matches have ended in draws.
The seventh draw came recently when these two teams locked horns in the regular season in August. Federico Vinas put the visitors in front in the 58th minute. The lead lasted for just seven minutes as Club America’s new star man, Julian Quinones, restored parity from the spot.
In the last five Liga MX encounters between these two teams, Club America has only defeated Leon once, and that win came in the 2022 Clausura season at Estadio Azteca. Richard Sanchez and Alex Zendejas scored as the hosts beat an eight-man Club Leon.
While Nicolas Larcamon will focus on effective tactics and his players’ recovery from fatigue, Club Leon will also focus on the fact that they have beaten their next opponents on multiple occasions.
Club Leon will be the underdogs in this fixture, but the Champions League winners certainly have the potential to pull off major upsets. Leon will surely pounce on the opportunity to cause harm if the visitors get over-confident.
Club Leon has not kept a clean sheet in the last seven games. To make matters worse, the team has conceded 14 goals in those games, of which five have come in the last two matches.
The defensive duo of William Tesillo and Adonis Frias will have to step up their game, especially now that they are going to face the best attack in the league.
Between August 2019 and January 2023, Federico Vinas was a Club America player. The Uruguayan made around 120 appearances for the team and scored about 24 goals.
This season, Vinas joined Leon, and in 16 appearances in all competitions for his new club, the 25-year-old has scored seven goals and will aim to add more against his former employers.
Club America has stamped their authority this season with a prolific performance in the league phase. The club’s intent is clear – win a record-extending 14th Liga MX title and end the four-season league title drought.
Club America last won the Liga MX crown in the 2018 Apertura season. This year, their scintillating performance has established them as firm favorites to go all the way. Leon will be a tricky opponent, but the visitors are expected to win both legs of this encounter.
Club America has seen several names go on and off the injury list this season, but it has never hampered their performance.
As things stand, two key players are on the list – defender Kevin Alvarez (Illness) and midfielder Diego Valdes (Calf injury). Both players are doubtful ahead of the upcoming game.
Besides the minor defensive and midfield concerns, Club America may also be without forwards Brian Rodriguez and Leonardo Suarez.
However, veteran striker Henry Martin and the club’s current joint-top scorers, Jonathan Rodriguez and Julian Quinones, are fit and ready to extend their respective goal tallies.
Teams: Club Leon vs. Club America
Location: Estadio Leon (Nou Camp)
Time: Wednesday, November 29 at 7:06 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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