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Deportivo Toluca have only won one game so far this season and are currently 11th on the table
Cruz Azul have not won a single game this season and are 17th with a solitary point to their name
In the reverse fixture during the Apertura 2022, a 98th-minute penalty gave Deportivo Toluca a 3-2 win over Cruz Azul
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Deportivo Toluca started their Clausura campaign with a 2-2 draw against rivals Club America. They visited CD Guadalajara and returned with all three points before playing two goalless draws against Club Leon and Atlas FC. Last week, the Apertura 2022 finalists lost against Monterrey CF.
Cruz Azul have played four games so far and have picked up just a solitary point which came in their opening fixture of the season. They held Club Tijuana to a 1-1 draw before losing the next three games on the trot.
There is a lot of history between the two sides and it favors Cruz Azul, but considering the recent form and squad strength, Deportivo Toluca have the upper hand and are capable of snatching all three points.
The two sides have met 29 times in Liga MX. Cruz Azul have emerged victorious on 13 occasions, while Deportivo Toluca have won eight times. The other eight games have ended in draws.
In the Apertura 2022 season, when these two sides met at the Estadio Azteca in August, the game was tied 2-2 as a chunk of stoppage time was added on. Deportivo Toluca won a penalty in stoppage time and Camilo converted it in the 98th minute to win it for Deportivo Toluca.
When the two sides met at the Estadio Nemesio Diez in Clausura 2022, Cruz Azul registered a commanding 4-1 victory. The two sides have clashed 15 times at this venue and Deportivo Toluca have only won four games. Cruz Azul have six wins and the remaining five games have ended in draws.
In the Apertura 2022 season, Deportivo Toluca reached the final where they were walloped by CF Pachuca and could not lay their hands on what could have been an 11th Liga MX title. The hunger should have driven them to achieve that feat this season.
However, things have taken a different turn. It is only the start of the season, but Deportivo Toluca are placed in the middle of the table after winning just one out of their opening five games. But simultaneously, they have also lost just one out of five games in Clausura 2023.
Deportivo Toluca finished sixth last season but still managed to reach the finals of the Apertura season. They seem to be in a similar position this season again and will surely nab a playoff spot for themselves. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate last season’s performance.
Deportivo Toluca have lost just one in their last nine games at home in Liga MX and that came in the final of the Apertura 2022 playoff against CF Pachuca. Even in the league phase last season, CF Pachuca were the only team to beat Deportivo Toluca in their own backyard.
The club played nine games at home in the league last season and lost only that solitary game against CF Pachuca. They won four and drew four at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. Deportivo Toluca’s campaign at home has gotten off to a slow start with two draws this season.
It may not reflect in the results, but Deportivo Toluca are really good passers of the ball. On average, the side have completed 449.6 accurate passes per match. No other Liga MX side has matched or gone beyond this record yet.
Camilo was Deportivo Toluca’s top scorer in the Apertura 2022 after scoring nine goals. The striker was one ahead of Jean Meneses in the ranking. However, this season, both players have gotten off to a poor start. Both are yet to get off the mark after five games this season.
Both players have nabbed only a solitary assist for themselves. To make matters worse, Deportivo Toluca will be without the services of Carlos Gonzalez. The Paraguayan was ineffective in the Apertura season but has already netted twice this season.
However, Deportivo Toluca will host Cruz Azul without Gonzalez and right-back Carlos Orrantia. Orrantia has made three appearances this season and has gotten his name put on the scoresheet.
The troubles are piling on for Cruz Azul as they find themselves hovering perilously close to the bottom of the table. As things stand, Cruz Azul are 17th on the table and only a point above Mazatlan FC.
A win will not propel them into the playoff spots but could help boost the team’s morale after a disappointing start. Cruz Azul will do everything in their power to dodge a fourth consecutive loss this season.
The attackers will be hungry for goals after firing blanks in the last two games. However, if Deportivo Toluca keep the ball and keep the defense tight, Cruz Azul could easily go three consecutive games without scoring a goal.
Michael Estrada scored three goals in the Apertura 2022 season. He finished level with Gonzalo Carneiro, scoring three goals and two behind the club’s leading goalscorer Santiago Gimenez, who left for Feyenoord after scoring those five goals.
The departure of Gimenez has left a void that other strikers at the club are unable to fill. New signing Augusto Lotti is yet to get off the mark, while Gonzalo Carneiro is not making an impact after coming on as a substitute.
This could turn out to be the perfect opportunity for Estrada to cement his spot in the team. The 26-year-old spent two years at Deportivo Toluca, making more than 60 appearances and scoring about 17 goals. This would be the perfect stage for the striker to get off the mark.
Cruz Azul deployed a 5-4-1 formation in the last match. Their central defenders look extremely solid on paper with names like Ramiro Funes Mori, Juan Escobar, and Jordan Silva. Even in central midfield, Erik Lira and Carlos Rodrigues have done a stellar job.
The flanks are turning out to be a weak point for Cruz Azul this season. Carlos Vargas had to be replaced after 16 minutes. On the other flank, midfielder Ignacio Rivero has slotted in and has put in sub-par performances. It is quite evident that Cruz Azul’s Achilles heel is their play down the flank - something Deportivo Toluca can exploit.
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Teams: Deportivo Toluca vs Cruz Azul
Location: Estadio Nemesio Diez
Time: Sunday, February 12 at 1pm ET onwards
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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