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Mazatlan suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Necaxa in their previous game of the 2023 Apertura season
Toluca head into this fixture with back-to-back losses both home and away against Puebla and Santos Laguna
Qualification for the playoff stage is on the line for Mazatlan, while Toluca only need a point to book their playoff berth
Our Pick: Toluca to win.
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The edge seems to be with Mazatlan, who have won three of their last five games, as compared to Toluca’s two wins in five. Toluca are better placed to qualify for the playoffs, and this is the final league stage game for both teams, which makes it a must-win for both.
The home side’s hopes to qualify suffered a huge setback when they traveled to Necaxa in the previous round of fixtures and were handed a 4-0 thrashing. With Puebla, Pachuca, FC Juarez, Queretaro, and Cruz Azul all hot on their heels, Mazatlan have more to lose than Toluca.
However, under pressure, Toluca have been known to perform well and will be the favorites in this fixture
Both teams have a relatively new rivalry in Liga MX and have faced each other just six times. The numbers are not in favor of Mazatlan FC, as they have managed to register just one win over Toluca in their six meetings.
Toluca have dominated the head-to-head record by securing three wins and the remaining two ending in draws. The last time these two sides met was back in March 2023, when Toluca, playing at home, thrashed Mazatlan 4-1.
With the final game of the league stage on the horizon, the stakes are high for both clubs, but Mazatlan is in a situation where anything less than a win will end their 2023 Apertura campaign. The table is tight from places eight to 15.
Mazatlan are placed 11th after winning five out of 16 games. A win over Toluca will propel them into eighth place, leapfrogging their next opponents, who are on 21 points.
Ismael Rescalvo has a long list of injured players heading into the final league game. Mazatlan’s star player this season, Ake Arnaud Loba, is the most prominent name on that injury list. The striker is out of action until January 2024. He has six goals and one assist this season, making him the highest scorer for Mazatlan.
Rescalvo will also be without Lucas Merolla, Nestor Vidrio, Nicolas Benedetti, and Roberto Meraz. Benedetti had registered three assists before he was ruled out for the season.
Mazatlan FC made its Liga MX debut three years ago and has been a part of the Mexican top tier for a very short time. The club finished 18th in the 2023 Clausura season and have never made the playoffs. This season is their first realistic chance of making it through.
However, the table is precariously balanced, with nine teams eyeing three qualification spots. If Mazatlan win this game, they will secure a playoff spot. A loss will end their season, whereas a draw will lead to more permutations for them to go through.
Toluca are sitting in eighth position in the 2023 Apertura table, with 21 points. They have won the same number of matches as their next opponents, which is five but have lost fewer games, with five losses and six draws.
A win will consolidate their position in the playoff spots, while a draw could also be good enough to cement their place on goal difference unless the teams below them win by large margins to leapfrog them.
The visitors are no strangers to the pressure of the penultimate league stage games. The ten-time Liga MX winners have never been relegated from the top flight. They also finished as runners-up in the Apertura 2022 edition.
The side has struggled a bit in recent years to rediscover their former glory. In the 2023 Clausura season, they finished fourth in the table and made it to the quarterfinals. However, the last time they lifted the Liga MX trophy was back in 2010.
Coach Ignacio Ambriz will have to dig deep to find a victory on Friday to help the club make back-to-back playoffs in the Liga MX. A plus point is that Toluca do not have injury woes like their opponents. The visitors have also not lost to Mazatlan in the last five of their six meetings, winning three and drawing two.
Central midfielder Marcel Ruiz and right winger Juan Dominguez have been the key partnership for Toluca this season, with five goals and six assists between them. Keeper Thiago Volpi has also bagged four goals from the penalty spot, whereas Jean Meneses and Jesus Angulo have three assists each.
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Teams: Mazatlan FC vs Deportivo Toluca
Location: Estadio El Encanto
Time: Friday, November 10 at 8:00 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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