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Cruz Azul won 3-2 when they last met Atlas in a Clausura season. They took the lead via Brayan Angulo early in the game before Anderson Santamaría equalized for the away side towards the end of the first half.
With game level and both sides going all out for the win, Jonathan Rodríguez struck twice for Cruz Azul to give them a two-goal lead by the 79th minute. Milton Caraglio pulled one back with the last kick of the game to make the score a little more respectable for the away side.
A repeat of the scoreline was expected when they met back in October, but the game ended goalless. The Apertura fixture was closely fought, but the most significant talking point of the match was the penalty that was canceled by VAR.
What is all that likely to mean in terms of a prediction for this weekend’s fixture? For the most part, we think these teams are among the more mercurial ones in the league – capable of real strength but never too far away from falling apart, as evidenced by their recent form with Atlas losing 2 of their last 5 and Cruz Azul losing 3 in the same amount of games. We think Atlas hold the edge coming into this as they’re unbeaten in their last three games, but expect Cruz Azul to at least get on the scoresheet at home.
Cruz Azul was in top form and had lost just once in their first six matches. They were looking set to continue on that path and finish in the top four, but the last five game days have turned things around. Azul has picked up just one win in those matches and are now slipping down the table.
From 13 points in 6 matches, they are now sitting sixth in the table with 17 points from 11 games. Unless they pull their socks up and get results quickly, a finish in the top 4 looks unlikely. They are just 2 points behind right now but will fall 5 points behind if Atlas wins.
The shock loss to Santos Laguna was the start of this slump in form for them. They went into the game full of confidence but were behind inside the first 5 minutes. Harold Preciado scored the goal for Santos, and to make things worse, Uriel Antuna missed a penalty and consequently a chance to level things before halftime.
José Rivero eventually got them level on the scoreline just after the hour-mark, and they were pushing for the winner. But with them playing high up the pitch, it automatically created a lot of counter-attacking chances for Santos, and Diego Medina would have the final say. The substitute scored in the 94th minute of the game, which sealed the win for the away side.
Azul looked down and out against Tigres in their next match as the home side took a 2-0 lead midway through the first half. The away side was finding it hard to get a goal, but Luis Abram managed to sneak one in injury time to get them back into the game.
Azul kept attacking for the equalizer but had to wait until the end to get it. José Rivero was on the scoresheet again, and they managed to snatch a point.
However, the form was out of the window, and a 3-1 loss to Puebla followed in the next week. It looked like they had managed to get some momentum with a win in CONCACAF Champions League over CF Montreal and Pumas in Liga MX, but that ended swiftly. They lost their last league game to league leaders Pachuca, by a slender margin of 1-0.
As things stand, Cruz Azul have lost three of their last five games and with only six matches to go in the season, the door is closing quickly on them as far as a top-four finish is concerned.
Atlas has not been at their best in recent matches but can take control of their position on the table. They are currently 4th in the league, but just 2 points ahead of 6th placed Cruz Azul – the side they face this weekend.
A win will see them go 5 points clear of the competition, which will be a big boost. They have relatively easy fixtures since they do not face any side around them in the table until the final day when they host Tigres UNAL.
Atlas has won just two of their last five matches, and the losses to Club Tijuana and Pachuca could prove costly. In their game against Tijuana, they failed to get a single shot on target and slumped to a 2-0 loss thanks to early goals from Marcel Ruíz and Christian Rivera.
They put on a better display against the current league leaders, Pachuca, but could not get the win. They lost 1-0 because of a late goal from Roberto de la Rosa, but to their credit, they held on for over 40 minutes with just 10 men on the pitch. Jairo Torres was shown the red card at the very end of the first half after VAR intervened.
They were leading 1-0 against Querétaro after Julio Furch found the back of the net in the first half. But fan violence saw the game suspended, and the league awarded them a 3-0 win, which could prove very handy as they push for the top four spots.
The players were taken aback by what they saw but managed to get back on the pitch next weekend and pull off a 2-1 win over Juarez. However, they needed an injury-time goal from Julián Quiñones to get a point from the game against CD Guadalajara.
Atlas is now unbeaten in their last three games, after briefly looking in danger of seriously slipping up when they picked up two losses in a row. They come in as strong favorites into this game for us.
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|Cruz Azul vs Atlas Information|
|Teams||Cruz Azul vs Atlas|
|Time||Saturday, April 2 at 7pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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