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Odds taken from bet365.
Pachuca take on Pumas UNAM this week, with the home side still searching for their first win of the season. Pachuca were Apertura winners last season but lost the Campeon de Campeones final last month to Tigres UANL. They finished last season in fifth place before getting knocked out in the playoffs.
Pumas UNAM, on the other hand, have struggled in recent seasons, with a 14th-place finish in last season’s Clausura and a 16th-place finish in last season’s Apertura. They’ve started the season well, but it’s still a bit too early in the season to suggest that they’ll be successful. This game, of course, will go a long way to inform us if Pumas UNAM are the real deal.
Facing Pachuca away from home, regardless of their form, is always a tall task, so we think it’s best to go safe and pick Pachuca for this match. A draw offers pretty good value, but we doubt Pachuca will go winless in three games; they’re too good a team for that.
Pachuca just edge it when it comes to head-to-head meetings. They’ve won nine, lost seven, and drawn 13 of the matches against Pumas UNAM. When the two sides faced each other in March this year, Pachuca won 2-0 via goals from Jose Castillo Perez (55’) and Mauricio Isais (79’) after Pumas UNAM’s Gustavo Javier del Prete was sent off in the 29th minute.
There was no doubt as to who the better team was in this match: Pachuca took 18 shots on goal, conceded eight, and had 68% of the possession. They had to be a bit patient, but once they opened their account, there was only going to be one winner.
Pachuca were the away side at the time, whereas the upcoming match is at home; it’s clear why they’re the favorites to win this match.
Pachuca were on the receiving end of one of their most humiliating losses in recent years over the weekend. Ivan Moreno gave Leon the lead in the 21st minute before two goals just before the half-time whistle completely swung the game. Jaine Barreiro scored the first, and the second was from Jesus Ricardo Angulo. Brian Rubio added another at the end of the game to give Leon a 4-0 win.
This was expected to be a tight game between two top Liga MX sides, and some of the stats project that it was a tight game. Both teams took 12 shots on goal, and Leon had 56% of the possession, but Pachuca got only one shot on target, whereas Leon got seven on target. Clinical finishing and goals at opportune moments gave Leon helped Leon win this game by four goals.
Pachuca aren’t as poor a side as the scorelines suggested, but it was a timely reminder that top-level football is quite brutal. It’s also the sort of wake-up call Pachuca needed after slowing down towards the end of last season and losing the Campeon de Campeones final to Tigres.
There might have been some bad fortune in their loss to Leon over the weekend and the draw to Mazatlan in game week one, but they don’t have a lot of excuses heading into the next game; they have to leave it with all three points. This will be their first home game of the season, and it isn’t against a potential title challenger, with all due respect to Pumas UNAM.
Pachuca have to get the three points by any means. It doesn’t matter if they have a greater share of possession in this match or more shots on goal; they just have to get the three points to kickstart their season. If they drop points again, they’ll be playing catch-up for the rest of the season, with matches getting harder and harder as the season goes on.
One concern is their defensive record. Leon found it far too easy to have a go at their goal and even easier to smash it into the net. They conceded 24 goals last season, which was more than every other team in the top 10. It seems like they’ve not redressed this area of the squad and are getting punished for it.
Pumas UNAM missed a great opportunity to go to the top of the league after drawing 0-0 to Mazatlan. Mazatlan went down to 10 men in the 86th minute of the game when Jair Diaz got his marching orders, but Pumas UNAM could’ve finished the game long before Diaz’s sending-off.
Pumas UNAM took 17 shots on goal to Mazatlan’s eight and had 56% of the possession; there was clearly only one side worthy of getting all three points, but UNAM failed to capitalize on their momentum and Diaz’s sending off, with the match ending 0-0.
This was a great opportunity for Pumas UNAM to build a head of steam as Guadalajara are the only side to have won their two matches this season. It would’ve allowed UNAM to go into this difficult game against Pachuca with something to hold onto, but a loss will see the two teams on the same number of points, which shows just how quickly the narrative around a team changes.
Pumas UNAM were far more impressive in the 0-0 draw against Mazatlan than their 3-2 win against Club Tijuana in game week one. Pachuca are a tough side, but they’re like a wounded animal at the moment, so there’s a great chance for Pumas UNAM to get something out of this game.
Playing Pachuca away from home won’t be easy, but if they can manage an early goal, anything is possible, If they get a draw or a win from this game, we might have to start taking Pumas UNAM seriously, but a draw will leave us with the same conclusions from the last two seasons.
Their aim for this season is clear: make the playoffs. If they can manage that, it’ll be considered a success. They are on the right track at the moment, but they need to keep this up because one loss could expose the cracks.
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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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