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Pick: CF Pachuca to win (+110)
After dodging defeat in four consecutive games that included three draws and one win, Club Tijuana have lost two back-to-back games in this Clausura season for the first time. However, they are no strangers to dropping points as Club Tijuana have won only one out of their last 16 Liga MX games.
Meanwhile, defeats are rare for CF Pachuca but they were handed one by Deportivo Toluca in the last match when Camillo came on and scored the winning goal in second-half stoppage time. That goal handed CF Pachuca only their second defeat of the season and their first defeat at home since August 2022.
CF Pachuca will hate to drop more points this season and will be favorites to win this encounter. However, it will be a tight one as Club Tijuana made it really difficult for Club America to get a narrow win last time around.
The two teams have met 23 times in Liga MX and CF Pachuca have won ten times. Club Tijuana have won on eight occasions and five matches have ended in draws. In the last five encounters between the two sides, Club Tijuana have only won once and that victory came in the Apertura 2021 season.
At the Estadio Caliente, Club Tijuana have an excellent record against CF Pachuca. In 11 home games, Club Tijuana have won eight, while Pachuca have only won twice, one of which was in the 2020 Apertura season and the other one back in Clausura 2017.
When the two sides last met at the Estadio Caliente, two CF Pachuca own goals coupled with Mauro Manotas’ second-half strike helped Club Tijuana nab a 3-2 victory over the Apertura 2022 champions.
Club Tijuana finished 15th in the Apertura season and eight games into the Clausura season, they are 14th. The best possible result this season for them would be to finish as close to the playoff spots as possible.
Their performances have been decent but the outcomes have been dismal. However, despite all that, Club Tijuana are unbeaten at home in the last five games. This season, they have played four games at the Estadio Caliente and lost none of them.
However, three out of those four games have ended in draws and only one game was won by Club Tijuana. But in the next match, a draw could be equivalent to a win for Club Tijuana considering the strength of CF Pachuca.
A draw would hurt CF Pachuca’s momentum even more after their loss against Deportivo Toluca. Club Tijuana will need to pull something absolutely special out of the bag if they want to take something from this game.
Club Tijuana were at the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline against Club America in the last game. Playing a three-man backline was really helpful for the side but ultimately, they went down to a narrow defeat.
The outcome could have been different if Club Tijuana had finished with eleven men on the pitch. But they were reduced to ten when Misael Dominguez came on to make his first appearance of the season and got sent off in the very next minute for a reckless challenge on Diego Valdes.
Club Tijuana went on to score a goal even after going a man down. They had nine minutes to score one more that could restore parity but failed to do so and had to return home with no points.
Club Tijuana have been extremely shy in front of goal so far this season after averaging just 0.8 goals per match. The chances are being created but there is no conversion inside the box. In the last match, Carlos Valenzuela was quite impressive. The midfielder completed the most dribbles (9) and won the most duels (15) in the match.
While one substitute let Club Tijuana down, the other two combined to get them the consolation goal. New signing Lucas Cavallini set up another newcomer Alejandro Martinez for Club Tijuana’s only goal of the match. Both players could be in contention to start the next game.
CF Pachuca have dropped three points at a very crucial point this season. The game against Club Tijuana is a must-win for the side as their next two Liga MX games will be against the unbeaten Club America side and league-leaders CF Monterrey.
In addition to that, CF Pachuca will also be involved in the CONCACAF Champions League. The two-legged Champions League tie against CD Motagua will take place on either side of the vital game against CF Monterrey.
After their game with Club Tijuana, CF Pachuca will play four games in a span of just 12 days and all these games will be crucial in both the competitions they are in.
In the last game against Deportivo Toluca, CF Pachuca’s right side was collectively better as a unit compared to the left. Starting from the defense, right-sided center-back Gustavo Cabra attempted the most tackles in the match, while right-back Kevin Alvarez was a menace down the flank whilst attempting a couple of shots at goal.
Winger Antonio Figueroa had the best passing accuracy of 95% in the game while just next to him in midfield, Erick Sanchez completed the most passes in the match. Up front, Roberto de la Rosa created four chances and attempted two shots.
Compared to this, the performance of the remaining players on the left-hand side was subpar with the worst coming from left-back Mauricio Isais, who lost 12 duels on the flank. CF Pachuca will need to restore this balance in the game against Club Tijuana.
In the crunch encounter against Deportivo Toluca, coach Guillermo Almada decided to bench Javier Lopez and Aviles Hurtado. Lopez is the top scorer for CF Pachuca this season after scoring five goals in eight games.
Hurtado has been a top creator with three assists already in his pocket. However, both players were benched till the hour mark. After coming on, Lopez scored CF Pachuca’s only goal of the match and it was assisted by new signing Cristian Arango.
The trio of Lopez, Hurtado, and Arango could be in line to start against Club Tijuana to avoid another slip-up.
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● Teams: Club Tijuana vs CF Pachuca
● Location: Estadio Caliente
● Time: Sunday, February 26 at 10:05 pm ET
● How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
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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