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Club Leon will host Club Necaxa at the Estadio Leon on Monday. Club Leon have a slight edge based on recent form.
Club Leon’s opening fixture against Mazatlan was postponed, this will be their season opener
Club Necaxa lost their first game of the season to San Luis and haven't won their last 11
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Pick: Club Leon to win (-108)
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Leon will finally get their season off and running after their game against Mazatlan was postponed during the opening weekend. Since they’re playing at home and finished ahead of Club Necaxa in the Apertura season, they’ll be favorites heading into this tie.
Leon also enjoy a better head-to-head record in this fixture with 14 wins, two draws, and six losses in the 22 meetings between these sides previously. Club Necaxa are also heading into this game off the back of a loss and will be a bit low on confidence as a result. Both sides should get on the scoresheet, as this match has historically averaged 2.83 goals per game, and in the early stages of a season, it is easy to bank on defenses being lax.
Club Necaxa came out on top 3-2 the last time these two sides met in one of the best games from the Apertura season. Club Necaxa played the perfect first half and scored three goals in the process. Milton Gimenez put Club Necaxa up in the 34th minute before Facundo Batista, and Rodolfo Cota got goals just before the half-time whistle to put Club Necaxa 3-0 up.
With a three-goal lead, it was safe to assume that Club Necaxa would get all three points but not before an extremely late comeback from Club Leon almost put that in jeopardy. Victor Davila scored two stoppage-time goals with five minutes of stoppage time still left to play. Leon could consider themselves unlucky in the end for not snatching a draw.
They had 53% of the possession but also took 24 shots compared to Club Necaxa’s 11. They got nine of those shots on target as well. Despite losing the game, there was much to admire about that performance.
Any team that has won seven Liga MX championships goes into most seasons with massive expectations. After underwhelming with a 10th-place finish in the Apertura, it’s imperative that Club Leon will be looking to do a lot better this season.
The additions of Adonis Fra, Lucas Romero, Jesus Angulo, Ivan Moreno, and Brian Rubio suggest that Club Leon are serious about making a title push. Fans haven’t got the chance to see that push yet after the match against Mazatlan got postponed.
Another week’s wait will just add to the tension and excitement. It’s been a while since Club Leon gave their fans something to cheer about. Their last Liga MX title came in 2014, and they’ll be well aware that a busy transfer window doesn’t guarantee anything, but this Clausura season looks like a great chance for this big club to make their mark in Mexican football once again.
They’ve also hired former Puebla manager Nicolas Larcamon for this season, who punched above his weight at his previous job. His next job will be very different. He has to show that he’s capable of taking over a bigger club and delivering on the lofty expectations that come with managing a big club.
Club Leon have a great chance to get their season off to the perfect start. They’re playing at home and haven’t got the toughest of opposition in their first game. Their next couple of fixtures will not be easy. They’re playing Pumas UNAM, and last year’s finalists, Toluca and Pachuca, after that.
All of a sudden, there’ll be no guarantee of points. Even a draw won’t suffice against Club Necaxa, who have already lost a match. Of course, it’s hard to predict what a new squad and a new manager will turn up with. It’ll take a while for the team to become cohesive, but they have to win while the new ideas and processes are being implemented.
Club Necaxa lost their first game of the season 3-2 to San Luis. This was the worst possible start as San Luis were just below Club Necaxa on the Apertura table, and Club Necaxa had a home advantage in this tie.
Even though the score reads 3-2, Club Necaxa got their second goal eight minutes into second-half stoppage time. They had 56% of the possession in this match but weren’t able to construct too many good opportunities. They only registered six shots compared to San Luis’ 14.
The first half saw neither team score a goal. San Luis got two in quick succession in the second half. Club Necaxa replied in the 72nd minute thanks to Ricardo Monreal, but San Luis scored the killer in the 89th minute to take all three points. There is still no clear style or identity in Club Necaxa’s play, and they need to find one quickly.
Club Leon have got a pretty strong squad, and there’s a lot of excitement around them at the moment. If they make a good start at their home ground, things could get bad pretty quickly for Club Necaxa. No team likes playing catch-up so early in the season.
Club Necaxa are in a bit of a rut at the moment. They just can’t seem to win matches anymore and won't be thrilled that this predicament continues to ail them at the start of a new season. This looks like a psychological issue more than tactical one. Of course, they’ve played some good teams during this poor run of form, but also played some sides that they’re more than capable of beating.
The one positive they can take into this tie is that the last team they beat were Club Leon. The game’s talking points have been covered earlier in the piece. If they can remind themselves of what worked last time out, they might just be able to pull off something special. Of course, this will be a very different Club Leon side than the previous one, but they have to remind themselves of every little positive at this stage.
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Teams: Club Leon vs Club Necaxa
Location: Estadio Leon
Time: Monday, January 16 at 10.05 pm ET
How to Watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
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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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