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After collecting 25 points from 17 games in the league phase of the Apertura 2023 season, Club Puebla secured a sixth-place finish
Defending champions Tigres UANL failed to finish at the summit of the Apertura 2023 table as they finished ten points off the top in third place
When these two teams met earlier this season, Tigres scored a late equalizer to secure a draw against a resilient Puebla side
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Club Puebla are among the underdogs in this season’s playoff despite pulling off a few unbelievable results in the regular season. The hosts have lost just one of their last eight Liga MX games, and that loss came against Chivas Guadalajara last month. After that loss, Puebla held Pachuca to a draw before concluding the league phase with three consecutive wins against Toluca, Leon, and Cruz Azul.
Meanwhile, Tigres UANL have only won three out of their last eight Liga MX matches. In retrospect, the defending champions lost just one during this run, as the other four have ended in draws. Their only loss during this run came against Club Tijuana, after which Tigres were held to back-to-back stalemates at home against San Luis and Club America in their final two fixtures of the league phase.
The chances of Club Puebla pulling off an upset by defeating the defending champions are relatively low. Tigres UANL will be the firm favorites to win both legs of this quarterfinal encounter.
Club Puebla and Tigres UANL have locked horns on several occasions in multiple tournaments in the past. Since 2010, these two clubs have clashed 31 times across all competitions. Tigres have the edge with 15 wins, while Pubela have won seven times.
Nine fixtures have ended in draws, including the stalemate earlier this season at the Estadio Universitario de Nuevo Leon. Brayan Angulo scored the opener for the visitors in the 47th minute before Nicolas Ibanez restored parity in the 93rd minute.
When these two clubs last met in Club Puebla’s backyard, the hosts clinched a narrow 2-1 win thanks to a Martin Barragan brace in the Apertura 2022 season. The two teams also clashed in the Clausura 2022 playoff. Tigres won that encounter 1-0 at home.
Facing the defending champions in any top-tier league is a mountainous task, especially for an underdog side. Puebla have beaten Tigres in the past, but the advantage will certainly be with the more experienced Tigres UANL side in a do-or-die situation.
Puebla snatched all points away from teams like Toluca, Tijuana, and Leon this season and held Monterrey and Tigres to draws. The club has the potential to pull off upsets, but their inexperience in the playoffs could end their journey in the first encounter itself.
Football clubs enjoy playing at home in front of their fans and let the atmosphere increase the intensity and tempo of their game. However, Puebla have failed to capitalize on that and picked up more points on the road than at home.
In eight home games this season, the hosts have won three, lost four, and drawn one. They have scored 13 goals and conceded 14. On the road, they have picked up 15 points.
While the defense steadies itself to face a prolific Tigres attack, the Puebla attacking department will be headed by Guillermo Martinez.
The 28-year-old has scored ten goals in 16 appearances this season. He has scored five goals in the last three games and aims to continue his goalscoring run this season.
Tigres UANL will be disappointed after finishing third in the league phase of the current Apertura season. Ater winning eight out of 17 matches and losing just three, the club finished ten points off the top of the table and three behind their arch-rivals Monterrey.
Eying their ninth Liga MX title, Tigres will be looking to step up their game in the knockout phase. Despite finishing third, the defending champions have a relatively easy fixture in the quarterfinals but cannot afford to take Puebla lightly and will have to tread carefully.
Throughout the league phase this season, Tigres have struggled on the road. The eight-time Liga MX champions have only won three out of eight away games.
They have drawn two and lost the other three. Going up against a side that has a poor home record will certainly favor Tigres and allow them an opportunity to improve their away performance.
Veteran Striker Hungry For More After Major Milestone
In June 2015, Andre-Pierre Gignac joined Tigres UANL. Since then, the striker has made over 350 appearances for his club and scored 200 goals.
The landmark 200th goal came against San Luis, and now Gignac will be eager to extend his season tally of nine goals.
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Teams: Club Puebla vs. Tigres UANL
Location: Estadio Cuauhtemoc
Time: Thursday, November 30 at 7 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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