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Cruz Azul lost their first match of the 2024 Clausura season against Pachuca and were held to a draw by FC Juarez in the second
Mazatlan FC are sitting with a wooden spoon in the Liga MX table after losing both games against Atletico de San Luis and Toluca
When these two teams clashed in the Apertura 2023 season, Cruz Azul held Mazatlan to a draw at Estadio de Mazatlan
Odds taken from BetMGM Sportsbook. Bet $5, get $158 in Bonus Bets with our code WSNMGM.
Our Pick: Cruz Azul to win.
After ending the Apertura 2023 regular season with two back-to-back losses, circumstances refused to change for Cruz Azul in the current Clausura campaign as they marked the start with a 1-0 home loss against Pachuca. The club’s winless streak got extended to four games after Angel Sepulveda failed to beat the keeper from the spot in the 88th minute against Juarez as both sides settled for a point after a goalless draw.
Mazatlan will be a tad disappointed with their start this season, especially after clinching the final play-in spot in the Apertura 2023 season. However, they could not advance further and lost against Santos Laguna. The new season started with a 1-0 home loss against San Luis, and last weekend Toluca thrashed them 4-1. The losing streak now stands at three games, and it will be crucial for Mazatlan to get a positive result in the next match.
This fixture is an encounter between two struggling sides of the Mexican top division who are both desperate to pick up crucial points and nab a play-in spot this season. The bookmakers have backed Cruz Azul as the favorites, and they will have a home advantage. It will be a tight game, and Cruz Azul could win this with the finest of margins.
There is not a lot of history between these two clubs, as they have only met seven times in Liga MX. It is an almost evenly balanced record, with Cruz Azul winning thrice and Mazatlan emerging victorious twice. The remaining two games have ended in draws.
In the Apertura 2023 season, when Mazatlan hosted Cruz Azul, Nicolas Benedetti and Bryan Colula gave the hosts a comfortable 2-0 lead before the break. Diber Cambindo pulled one back for the visitors before scoring the equalizer in the 94th minute.
Cruz Azul last hosted Mazatlan in the Apertura 2022 season. Gonzalo Carneiro and Angel Romero were on the scoresheet as the hosts wrapped up all three points with a 2-0 win. Mazatlan finished the game with ten men after Raul Sandoval was sent off after 36 minutes.
After finishing just two points off the bottom of the table in the Apertura 2023 season, Cruz Azul decided to make some major changes in the management and the squad. Six players have left the club, including players like Kevin Castano and Moises Vieira.
Four new faces have been added to the squad, including Camilo Candido, Gabriel Fernandez, Gonzalo Piovi, and Lorenzo Faravelli. The players are now playing under the new Cruz Azul coach, Martin Anselmi.
Cruz Azul are yet to register a win this season, but that is understandable considering the team’s poor recent form, the squad overhaul, and adapting to a new style of training and in-game tactics. Facing a struggling Mazatlan side could be very helpful for the club this weekend.
It is quite remarkable that Cruz Azul are yet to score a goal in the Clausura 2024 season despite having strikers like Fernandez, Sepulveda, and Uriel Antuna.
Anselmi may tweak the front line a bit and replace Fernandez with Sepulveda alongside Antuna against Mazatlan. The Antuna-Sepulveda combination was quite threatening last season.
Anselmi has to figure out his primary attack partnership at the moment. Apart from that, his team’s midfield and defense look quite stable.
The addition of Piovi to the backline has increased defensive prowess, while Carlos Rodriguez, Erik Lira, and Faravelli have looked sharp in the middle third.
A string of positive results towards the end of the regular season of the Apertura 2023 campaign earned Mazatlan a valuable play-in spot. The club finished level on points with Pachuca but secured a tenth-place finish.
This season, the target will be the same, and the additional two play-in spots are set to make things easier for Mazatlan and other teams like them. However, it will be crucial for the club to start gaining momentum soon.
Two games into the new season, Mazatlan are rooted to the bottom of the table. Now facing fellow strugglers Cruz Azul, they have a chance to pull off a positive result and gain some winning momentum before the next set of fixtures.
Mazatlan had 12 different goalscorers last season, and their top scorer was Ake Arnaud Loba. The Ivorian scored six goals and registered one assist in ten appearances for the club.
Surprisingly, the club did not renew Loba’s contract and will be without their star striker this season. This decision will certainly hurt the performance of Mazatlan this season.
Josue Colman has been on the sidelines since the start of the Clausura 2024 season due to an injury. The midfielder scored three and assisted seven goals in 17 appearances last season.
Mazatlan are without a prolific striker up front and a creator in midfield. This will make them quite weak against Cruz Azul this weekend.
Teams: Cruz Azul vs. Mazatlan FC
Location: Estadio Ciudad de los Deportes
Time: Saturday, January 27 at 6:00 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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