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Leon and Tigres are battling for the 3rd and 4th spot in the Liga MX Clausura table. The home side needs a win at all costs as they are 2 points behind their opponents and are 4th on the table right now.
When the two sides met back in December in the Apertura season, Leon did manage to pick up a 2-1 win. But on Saturday, Tigres are the favorites to win as they are in better form. The away side does have a better team on paper as well and should be backed to pick up an easy win.
The recent meetings between these two sides have been relatively one-sided, with Tigres dominating more often than not. The last time Leon won against Tigres was all the way back in the Clausura season was all the way back in 2017, a total of 13 matches ago. They did, however, beat them 2-1 during the Apertura season last December, and eventually finished one point ahead of them in the table to finish 3rd place.
These two are much better matched these days than during the last time Leon beat Tigres in the Clausura season. That year, the 2017-18 season, Leon finished down in 7th place, while Tigres had finished 2nd. This season, we think they’ll both be vying for the same honors as they were during the Apertura season – the 3rd and 4th spots. At the moment, Tigres look best placed to win that little battle.
With 3 wins in their last 4 matches, Leon were flying high in the Liga MX table. This should have bode well going into their CONCACAF quarter-final fixture against Seattle Sounders, but things didn’t quite work out for them this midweek.
They fell pretty hard against the Sounders, who allowed them the lion’s share of possession, but were clinical on the counter to seal a 3-0 in a match where they saw very little of the ball.
Leon manager Ariel Holan was probably left fuming as he helplessly saw his side dominate possession but turn it into little during their offensive movements. Leon managed to have around 70 percent of the ball in the game but managed just 3 shots – only one of which was on target. In contrast, the Sounders had 14 goal attempts, with 9 shots on target – all of that managed with just 30 percent of the possession and a passing accuracy of 71 percent.
The MLS side were happy to sit back, but a high-ish press meant they put up enough barriers in midfield and in the half-spaces that Leon could only use their dominant possession to pass around sideways – hence their 88 percent accuracy – and find little to no penetration in the final third. Holan admitted that his side had been outplayed, even with all the dominance on the ball, and said he is confident of a comeback in the next leg.
But Holan cannot shift focus completely on the CONCACAF Champions League as he has an important fixture in the Liga MX this weekend. Tigres are the only team standing in their way of challenging for the top spot in the Liga MX at the moment, and a loss could be a realistic signal for them to lower their ambitions instead. Check out more International Soccer matches here.
Tigres were on a 5-match winning run in the league before Cruz Azul held them to a draw this past weekend. The 2 points dropped – and Pachuca’s win – have meant that they’ve slipped to 3rd in the table with a game in hand, 4 points behind leaders Puebla, who have 21 points from 9 games.
Tigres coach Miguel Herrera was not a happy man after the game and claimed he was worried about his defensive setup. The manager admitted that he had to find a balance in his side after they let a 2-goal lead slip.
Among the teams in the top five, Tigres are currently the only team to have conceded goals in the double-digits, having let 13 in from 8 games, whereas the next-highest conceding team in that slab of the table is Pachuca, who have conceded 8 from 8 games. For their part, Tigres are also joint top-scorers in the league with 17 goals from 8 games – the biggest reason they are still in the conversation in the upper echelons of the table.
Tigres are still in the driver’s seat to finish 3rd in the table, and they will go a long way in that direction if they just avoid defeat against Leon. They have a 2-point lead over their opponents this week – and a game in hand – and with just 8 or 9 games left in the league, the chances of them slipping up further are less. At the same time, a loss could jeopardize their title chances and all but seal the top two for Puebla and Pachuca.
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|Teams||Leon vs Tigres UANL|
|Time||Saturday, March 12 at 6.00 PM 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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