Necaxa to win or draw
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Cruz Azul ended the season in poor form and will be looking to put that behind them. However, they are up against Club Necaxa, a side that has won three of their last four games to get into the playoffs.
Azul have done well against Necaxa in recent meetings and will be looking to get that form back. They have won three of the last five meetings, but the only loss came when these two sides met in the league this season.
Club Necaxa will be looking to carry the momentum from their form at the end of the season. Moreover, they will be looking to replicate the result against Azul in the league and make it to the quarterfinals.
Juan Escobar handed Cruz Azul the lead when these two sides met in the league in February. Club Necaxa dominated the game but needed to wait until the 84th minute to get the equalizer. Milton Giménez was the scorer, and the game was thrown wide open.
Rodrigo Aguirre stunned the Azul fans with a goal in the 95th minute of the game – a win that eventually went on to become the turning point in their season.
Cruz Azul were cruising in the league early on, and were one of the favorites to challenge Pachuca and Tigres for the top spots. However, they slipped up badly towards the end of the season and finished a point outside the top 4.
They managed to pick up just five points from their last five matches, and that is the main reason they are playing in the playoffs this weekend instead of waiting in the quarterfinals with automatic qualification. Juan Maximo Reynoso will be hoping that his players regain their form quickly if they are to win the Liga MX title.
Inconsistency has been the main factor behind their poor show towards the end as Azul never managed to go on a good unbeaten run. They started the season with three wins and a draw in their opening four matches, but it has been topsy-turvy since then. They lost to Club Necaxa in the 5th game of the season – the same side they are battling for a place in the quarterfinals.
They needed just seven points from their last five matches to secure a place in the top 4, but failed to get it done. They were on a poor run, but the draw against Mazatlan showed they could play defensively and still get results. Roberto Meraz scored for Mazatlan in the first half to take his side into halftime with a lead. However, seconds after the second half started, Ángel Romero found the back of the net for Azul. The goal proved vital in getting a point, but they will be regretting not going for the win later on.
Guadalajara were up next for Azul, and despite the away side going down to 10 men, Reynoso’s side could not get a point from the game. Cristian Calderón scored the lone goal of the match, while Alexis Vega was shown the red card midway through the second half.
Still in search of six points from their three matches, Cruz Azul had to fight tooth and nail to get a result at Queretaro. Pablo Aguilar scored the only goal of the game in the 74th minute, and that helped them seal the win.
With two games left in the season and just three points needed to seal their top 4 spot, Azul were up against Atletico de San Luis – a side that was lingering around the playoff spots but needed a win to get into them.
The game ended 1-0 again, and Azul ended up losing this time. Ricardo Chávez scored for San Luis and helped them seal their spot in the top 12, leaving Azul in a must-win situation against Club America.
It was a winner-take-all situation in the final match as Club America and Cruz Azul were separated by just one point. The winner was guaranteed a top 4 spot, while a draw would favor America, as long as Puebla did not win big. Azul could not bring out their best but managed to hold on for a goalless draw in the end.
Club Necaxa pulled off one of the best comebacks this season to seal a spot in the playoffs. They won five of their last nine matches after picking up just two wins in their opening eight games.
They needed to pick up at least seven points from their last five matches to get into the top 12, and they did it in fine fashion. They started off with a loss to Atlas, but managed to bounce back well and win three on the trot.
Milton Giménez and Rodrigo Aguirre scored braces in the next game as Necaxa were desperate to ensure there were no slip-ups. However, it was not all sweet for them as Heriberto De Jesus was sent off before Germán Berterame made it an exciting ending by making the scoreline 4-2.
Necaxa went on to pull off one of the shock wins of the season in their next game when they met Tigres UANL. The home side had just 38 percent of the ball but managed five shots on target – more than double of what Tigres managed the whole game. Rodrigo Aguirre and Alonso Escoboza scoring early in the game was enough for them to pull off a stunning 2-0 win.
Needing just a point from their last two matches to seal the top 12 spot, they were up against Puebla – another side that was looking to make it to the top 4. Milton Giménez was once again on the scoresheet, and Necaxa managed to catch another big fish. Puebla had two penalties disallowed by VAR, and they eventually lost 1-0.
After struggling to make it to the top 12, Club Necaxa went into the final game of the season with a chance of making it to the top 4! They needed a big win over Guadalajara to finish on 26 points and knew they had to score at least five goals. However, there was no miracle this time around, and they ended up losing 1-0 instead. Miguel Ponce scored the game’s lone goal for Guadalajara in the 89th minute, leaving Necaxa 9th in the league table after a stunning fightback in the season.
Jaime Lozano will be looking for more of the same fight from his players this weekend as they start their playoff games.
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|Cruz Azul vs Club Necaxa Information|
|Teams||Cruz Azul vs Club Necaxa|
|Time||Saturday, May 7 at 6.45pm 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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