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Pick: Pachuca to win
Pachuca lead the table and are the favorites to win against Cruz Azul. They are on a great run right now and have lost just once this Clausura season.
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Pachuca are expected to pick up the win over Cruz Azul and end their winless streak against the opponents.
They are leading the charts right now, despite playing a game fewer, and have dropped just 5 points this season so far.
Azul will be looking for a psychological advantage over Pachuca, a side they have often beaten irrespective of their form in the league. They have won 4 of the last six meetings between the two sides and drawn the other two. However, they have won just once at Estadio Miguel Hidalgo since 2016 – and that was by a single goal last year in January.
Pachuca have been on a roll this season, and their only loss was against Club Leon on matchday three. Since then, they have won all their games except the 2-2 draw at home to Querétaro.
With seven wins in nine league games in the Clausura season, they are currently a point clear of second-placed Puebla, who have played a game more than them. However, they cannot afford any slip-ups as Tigres are just two points behind in third and have a game in hand as well.
Pachuca’s winning run has been far from smooth, and they have sometimes had to grind to get their results. Guillermo Almada’s men have not been able to dominate possession in many of their games, but do manage to convert their half-chances in crunch situations.
The league leaders defeated Toluca in the previous game week by 3-0, but the scoreline does not reflect the fight put up by their opponents. Pachuca managed just three shots on target in the whole match and scored from all of them – impressive in itself, but not a sustainable feature of their play.
They needed a late goal to beat Atlas, despite the opponents going down to 10 men in the first half. Roberto de la Rosa scored the lone goal of the game in the 87th minute to keep their winning run going.
Club Leon and Querétaro – the two sides to take points off Pachuca this season – played with an aggressive setup and set the blueprint to exploit the league leaders’ shakiness at the back. However, none of the other sides have managed to replicate their success on the pitch and Almada’s men have found ways to win games in the end.
The appointment of the Uruguayan manager has proved to be a masterstroke as Pachuca have moved from 15th in the Apertura season to the top of the table in the Clausura season within a matter of months. They had won just 4 of their 17 Apertura matches but have already picked up 7 wins in 9 games in the Clausura. Check out more International Soccer matches here.
Cruz Azul made a great start to the season, but their involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League has been a clear hindrance and has contributed to them dropping points in the league.
They first lost a league game just before their first-leg fixture against Forge FC in the CONCACAF, and then went on a three-match winless streak just before their match against CF Montreal. The good news as far as they’re concerned, is that they are still in the Champions League and managed to reach the semi-finals this week. But it has come at a cost that they’re still trying to account for.
Juan Maximo Reynoso will be keen on retaining the Guardianes this season and knows that they need to finish in the top 4 to make it directly into the quarter-finals. They are within touching distance right now as they sit 5th in the league table and are just a point behind Atlas.
However, they need to get some consistency in their league form as they are dropping way too many points. In the last five matches, they have dropped 8, and that has seen them slip away from the top of the table.
Reynoso’s side ended their three-match winless run with a hard-fought win over Pumas UNAM – whom they will face in the CONCACAF semi-finals, incidentally – at the Estadio Azteca last weekend. Despite Favio Álvarez scoring the equalizer for UNAM just a minute after Azul took the lead via Luis Abram, they had complete control of the game.
Azul brought on Juan Escobar midway through the second half, and the trick worked for the home side. The Paraguayan footballer, who usually plays as a defender, was played up front, and he scored just three minutes after coming on. Reynoso changed the formation straight away and shut shop to keep the scoreline intact and help Azul pick up a vital win in the league. Check out our soccer betting guides here to get an edge before the game!
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|Teams||Pachuca vs Cruz Azul|
|Time||Saturday, March 19 at 11pm 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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