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Five games into the Clausura 2024 season, Club Tijuana are still in search of their first win of the campaign and are sitting 16th in the table.
Queretaro FC have drawn three and lost two of their first five games of the new season and are sitting just a point above their next opponents.
The Estadio Caliente hosted this fixture in the Apertura 2023 season, and the hosts scraped past Tijuana in that match.
Odds taken from BetMGM Sportsbook. Bet $5, get $158 in Bonus Bets with our code WSNMGM.
Pick: Club Tijuana to win.
Tijuana’s winless streak was extended to seven games in Liga MX after they lost 3-2 against Pachuca earlier this week. Before that, the club was beaten 1-0 by Cruz Azul. The two back-to-back losses came right after back-to-back draws against Atlas FC and Chivas Guadalajara. The season opener for Tijuana was the toughest, as it was against the defending champions, Club America, which also handed them a loss.
Queretaro are winless in their last six Liga MX matches. After ending last season with a draw against Monterrey, the club started the Clausura 2024 season with a 2-2 draw against Toluca. After losing to Club America by a score of 2-0, the team went on to draw two stunning ties with title contenders Monterrey and Tigres UANL. Queretaro failed to dodge defeat for a third time in a row and were defeated 3-1 by Cruz Azul earlier this week.
Both bottom-dwellers are desperate to register their first win of the season. Home advantage is with Tijuana, and the bookmakers have also backed the hosts as favorites to win this fixture. Queretaro has frustrated big clubs several times, but they have faltered against fellow strugglers. Based on that aspect and a few others, Tijuana is expected to win this encounter.
These two clubs have previously met in the Copa MX and the League Cup, but they have clashed 25 times in the Liga MX since 2011. Queretaro have the better record with 11 wins under their belt, while Tijuana have been victorious eight times. The other six games have ended in a stalemate.
In the Apertura 2023 campaign, when these two clubs met, referee Oscar Macias Romo was forced to flash four red cards. Tijuana’s Christian Rivera was dismissed in the 42nd minute before coach Miguel Herrera was also shown a red card for dissent before the break.
The hosts were also reduced to ten men seven minutes into the second half after Jose Zuniga received his marching orders for a cynical challenge. The first and only goal of the match came in the 84th minute via Pablo Barrera, shortly before the hosts were reduced to nine after Raul Sandoval picked up two bookings in less than two minutes.
In the opening two games of the season, Tijuana fired blanks and picked up one point from a possible six. Their first goal of the season came in the third match, which ended in a crucial draw against a strong Chivas Guadalajara side at home.
The club fired another blank against Cruz Azul last week but scored two against Pachuca earlier this week. Up to now, Carlos Gonzalez is the main scorer, with two goals in five games. Christian Rivera has also scored his first goal.
However, a drastic improvement is required in the final third. Since Tijuana are facing another struggling side, they could work on their attacking and take full advantage of Queretaro’s weak defense to get more players on the scoresheet.
Apart from Gonzalez, Tijuana has another attacking option in Jose Zuniga. The former Queretaro striker will be itching to score his first goal of the season against familiar faces.
However, that will not be an easy task considering the performance of the Colombian in the last five games. Zuniga has looked quite rusty and needs to improve his gameplay.
In the Apertura 2023 season, Tijuana failed to win just three home games during the campaign. This Clausura season, they have already failed to win at Estadio Caliente twice.
Winning at least five or six out of eight home games this season will be the primary objective of the club if they are chasing a play-in spot.
Queretaro’s recent form against Tijuana will hand them a psychological advantage in this match. Not only do the visitors have a better head-to-head record against their next opponents, but they are also unbeaten against Tijuana in the last six matches in all competitions.
During this impressive stint, Queretaro has nabbed four victories, and two matches have ended in draws. The last time Tijuana beat Queretaro in Liga MX was in March 2021. The hosts will be eager to extend this unbeaten run to seven games in the next match.
However, if Tijuana can unlock their true potential, it will be an extremely challenging task for the visitors to get any points from Estadio Caliente.
Queretaro’s first-choice goalkeeper, Guillermo Allison, suffered an injury during the team’s match against Monterrey. New signing Fernando Tapia replaced him, and Allison has been on the sidelines since then.
Coach Mauro Gerk will be extremely pleased with his secondary keeper after Tapia has already shown his potential in three appearances. He also saved Nicolas Ibanez’s penalty that ensured a draw against Tigres UANL and is expected to start against Tijuana.
The departures of Angel Sepulveda and Zuniga have adversely affected the attacking department of Queretaro.
They will come face-to-face with Zuniga in the next match, and it will be interesting to see who gets off the mark first – Zuniga or Queretaro’s current striker duo of Facundo Batista and Jordan Sierra.
Teams: Club Tijuana vs. Queretaro FC
Location: Estadio Caliente
Time: Friday, February 9 at 10:00 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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