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Puebla are sitting at the bottom of the Clausura 2024 table after losing three and drawing one of their first four games of the new season
Mazatlan FC share the exact same record and are level on points with their next opponents, still in search of their first win
When these two bottom-dwellers met in the Apertura 2023 season, a ten-man Mazatlan side clinched a narrow home win over Puebla
Odds taken from BetMGM Sportsbook. Bet $5, get $158 in Bonus Bets with our code WSNMGM.
Our Pick: Mazatlan FC to win.
Puebla were on the road to recovery till the Apertura 2023 playoffs. Since then, it has been a turbulent downhill drive for the club. The Clausura 2024 season started with a disappointing 2-0 loss against Monterrey, after which the club faced a narrow loss at home against Necaxa. Last weekend, Puebla were held to a 1-1 draw by Toluca at home before Santos Laguna swept them aside 3-0 in the last fixture.
Mazatlan were able to end their four-game losing streak in the last match earlier this week against Club Leon. However, the streak ended with a 2-2 draw and not a win. Before that, Mazatlan were defeated by Atletico de San Luis, Toluca, and Cruz Azul.
The club’s last win came in the final game of the regular season of the Apertura 2023 campaign against Toluca. After that, Mazatlan lost the play-in encounter against Santos and have been winless since then.
The home and away factors are usually tossed out of the window when two struggling sides collide. Both sides are equally desperate for their first win of the season. The bookmakers have backed the hosts, but Mazatlan look more stable to win this game on enemy territory.
There is not a lot of history between the two clubs, as they have only clashed eight times in Liga MX. Puebla dominated this fixture with six wins under their belt, while Mazatlan have only emerged victorious on two occasions. There have never been any draws in this fixture.
When these clubs clashed in the Apertura 2023 season, Mazatlan played hosts and clinched a narrow 1-0 win despite playing half the match with ten men after the dismissal of Andres Montano just before the break. Facundo Almada scored the only goal of the match in the 47th minute.
The last time Puebla hosted Mazatlan was in the Clausura 2023 season. The hosts nabbed a convincing 3-1 win that evening after Pablo Parra, Guillermo Martinez, and Emanuel Gularte got their names on the scoresheet, while Ake Arnaud Loba scored the consolation goal for the visitors in the 85th minute.
After winning seven out of 17 league games last season, Puebla snapped the last play-off qualification spot in the Apertura 2023 season. This year, the number of play-in spots have increased, reducing the number of play-off spots.
These play-in spots will be the primary target of Puebla. However, the first objective will be to get off the bottom of the table. So far, Puebla have faced tough opponents, but now they are up against a team that is struggling this season.
A win over Mazatlan will end Puebla’s six-game winless streak and would give them enough scope to build some winning momentum.
A collarbone injury will keep Daniel Alvarez out of the next match against Mazatlan. The winger has made three appearances this season and has created many chances for Puebla.
The date of his return has not been confirmed yet, but the 29-year-old will certainly not be involved in any way in the next game, leaving a big space to fill on the left flank.
Coach Ricardo Carbajal has added two new strikers to his squad this season, but the major concerns are rising in defense.
Puebla have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight games. They have managed just one shutout in their last 16 league games. Conceding unnecessary goals has caused a lot of damage, and that is an aspect Carbajal must work on.
Four games into the new season, Mazatlan FC are yet to register a win. There are other teams, like their next opponents, who are also struggling, but the road ahead looks extremely rough for Ismael Rescalvo’s men.
The squad lacks the desire to win games, and the injuries to key players at crucial moments have driven a dagger through the heart of Mazatlan. The club somehow clinched the final play-in spot last season, but this season, it may be an improbable goal to attain.
The visitors will be without four players in the next match. Creative midfielder Josue Colman is doubtful ahead of the match, while defender Lucas Merolla will not be back in action till April.
Midfielder Nicolas Benedetti has already been ruled out for the season due to an ACL injury, while midfielder Roberto Meraz is expected to be back in a few weeks.
Mazatlan did not retain the services of their leading goalscorer of last season, Ake Arnaud Loba. They are also without the injured Benedetti. In this situation, new loan signing Gustavo Del Prete has stepped up for Rescalvo’s team.
The Argentine, who arrived on loan from Pumas UNAM, has already scored two goals in as many appearances for Mazatlan. Edgar Barcenas is trying his best to support the striker from the right flank.
Teams: Puebla vs. Mazatlan FC
Location: Estadio Cuauhtemoc
Time: Friday, February 2 at 10:00 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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