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Pick: Over 2.5 goals to be scored
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Both teams have lost three of their last six matches in the league.
Cruz Azul suffered defeats in their last three home games but have managed to get on the scoresheet in all. They lost to Club Necaxa and Santos Laguna – two teams who have just two wins this season – and also lost to Puebla, the league leaders.
Pumas have not been great either, with two losses and a draw in their last three away matches. They too lost to Santos Laguna, while the other loss was at Club Tijuana – both sides who are below them in the league table.
Goals would not be an issue in this fixture, and there is a good chance of both teams scoring 2+ goals in the game. The last match between these two sides ended 4-3, with Pumas coming back from 3-1 down to win it late in the second half.
Roberto Alvarado’s first-half hat-trick for Cruz Azul was in vain as Diogo came off the bench for Pumas to score twice and assist once in the second half. The impact sub ensured the home side picked up all three points in dramatic fashion.
These two teams have also been rather lacking in defense so far, while also being among the high-scoring teams. We expect lots of goals in this game, but it is hard to separate these two in terms of an outright result. We might just see a high-scoring draw.
Cruz Azul have not been at their best lately and have just two wins in their last five matches in all competitions. Both wins have come in the CONCACAF and they are currently in the process of gradually slipping down in the league table.
The loss to the struggling Santos Laguna has been the primary reason for this. The 94th-minute winner by Diego Medina seemed to have broken the Azul players’ confidence, and this was evident in their last two league games, where they seemed to have little in their offensive movement.
Against Tigres, Azul needed injury-time goals in either half to come back from 2-0 down to pick up a point. Both goals were off mistakes made by the home side’s defense, and they were lucky to be just 2-0 down early in the game.
Unlike Tigres, Puebla did not take their foot off the pedal and kept attacking throughout their game last week. Fernando Aristeguieta’s hat-trick for the leaders was a performance that had Azul searching for answers in all phases of the game barring, perhaps, the 7th minute goal after which they’d found a quick equalizer. From there on, though, it was a lot of time spent in the midfield without too many incisive moves in the final third.
In the CONCACAF Champions League during the week, though, Cruz Azul managed to get back to winning ways. The Mexican side was up against CF Montreal at home, and they edged out a 1-0 win. Uriel Antuna scored midway through the first half, and that was enough for the Liga MX side to take the lead in the tie, a result that will give them some conviction as they prepare for the return leg in Montreal to try and progress in the competition.
Whether or not that will help them get back to a better level in the league remains to be seen, but time is fast slipping away from them and their ambitions to be top of the table, with only 8 games to remedy their middling start. Check out more International Soccer matches here.
Pumas will be looking for inspiration from their win over Cruz Azul from last time out to get another win this weekend. Diogo is still at the club, on loan for the season, but has started just four games in the Clausura season.
The Brazilian will be looking to get into the starting XI this weekend after his magical performance off the bench in the previous meeting. However, he has been in poor form with just one goal and as many assists in 7 appearances this season. He did not even make the squad for their loss at Santos earlier this month.
Pumas need something going their way soon as they are now 8th in the league table. They were among the teams who didn’t play last weekend following incidents of fan violence and will have used that time to settle things down in what has been a hectic schedule for them with their CONCACAF participation.
Not that it was too much. They did play during the week in the CONCACAF Champions League and were thrashed by MLS side New England Revolution. Pumas looked toothless throughout the game and could only muster a single big chance. They managed to take just 8 shots on goal, and of them, only three were on target. It was a game where they looked okay in midfield, racking up 51 percent of the possession and making more passes than their opponents, but eventually ended up losing 3-0 to one of America’s most lethal attacking sides, who got a first-half goal from Sebastian Lletget that was followed by a brace from Adam Buksa in the second half.
Pumas need a big win soon, with a spot in next season’s CONCACAF looking beyond them at the moment. With just 3 wins in their 8 matches so far, they are 10 points behind Puebla in the first place. Check out our soccer betting guides here to get an edge before the game!
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|Teams||Cruz Azul vs Pumas UNAM|
|Time||Saturday, March 12 at 8pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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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