Pachuca to win or draw, both teams to score
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Pumas UNAM have had the upper hand over Pachuca in recent meetings and have lost none of the last six games. However, four of those matches have ended in draws, while the two wins have been down to just one-goal margins each time.
Pachuca do not have anything tangible to play for in this final round of the Clausura as they have an unassailable six-point lead at the top of the table right now. They could very well rest their top players and give their squad players a chance ahead of the quarterfinals.
Pumas UNAM will be looking to make it three wins in seven games against the table toppers. They have managed to bring out their best against Pachuca in all their clashes, and this weekend, they will need to do that once again.
The last time Pahcuca won at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario was back in 2012 – a 1-0 win in the Clausura season then. When the two sides last met in the Clausura, the game ended 2-2 after Pumas scored twice in injury time through Juan Dinenno and Sebastián Saucedo.
This time round, though, Pachuca are a much, much different side – they have bossed the table and ended up unlikely first-place holders. The challenge will be tougher than ever, especially with the pressure of the fact that Pumas UNAM are only just hanging onto the final playoff qualification spot at the moment.
Pumas UNAM had their spot in the playoff all but sealed not too long ago, but they slipped up in the last two games. The losses to Guadalajara and Atletico de San Luis has them sitting in the final playoff spot -12th place – and in desperate need of a win to seal their place.
A distraction for them would have been the CONCACAF Champions League game this midweek. They drew 2-2 against the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of the final – through a 99th minute equalizer for the Sounders, no less – and will be working overtime this weekend in what will virtually be another final of sorts.
They will need to refocus quickly this weekend as they face the league leaders, Pachuca. The good news for them is that the toppers could rest their best players as they have sealed the top spot already.
Pumas were doing well in the league, but the Champions League seems to have bothered them. They lost to Santos Laguna, Cruz Azul, and Club Necaxa in three consecutive games but bounced back to go on a nice unbeaten run.
They were set to seal a 1-0 win over Mazatlan in the league, but an own goal from Arturo Ortiz canceled out the goal from Jorge Ruvalcaba for Pumas. The game ended 1-1 despite the home side having 20 shots at goal and 60% of the possession.
It was almost a similar story against Juarez, but this time, Pumas did not enjoy the majority of the possession. They had just 47% of the ball but still managed 19 shots. Diogo scored the lone goal of the match to seal a 1-0 win for the away side.
Puebla were in top form when they hosted Pumas when the away side ended up stunning the home crowd. Pablo Parra and Maximiliano Araújo scored in the first half for Puebla and were set for an easy win. However, the momentum shifted right before half time as Rogério pulled one back for the away side. Jorge Ruvalcaba got the teams level with just 4 minutes left, and neither side could go on and score the winner.
Pumas continued their good run late win over Monterrey. The teams were unable to break each other down in the 90 minutes, and it was a brace from Washington Corozo in injury time that sealed the 2-0 win for the home side. The win gave them the edge over the teams below in the league table, and the playoff spots were all but sealed.
However, there was a twist in the tale as Pumas went on to lose their next two league games. They lost 2-0 to Atletico de San Luis – a side that was struggling for points but is now safe in the playoff spots. Germán Berterame and Luis Fernando León scored the two goals for Atletico in either half, and that was enough for them to get the three points.
Pumas were expected to bounce back against Guadalajara, but that did not go as per plans. Alexis Vega and Roberto Alvarado scored in the first half to make it 2-0 to the home side before Rogério pulled one back for Pumas. They could not use the momentum to go get another one as Jesús Ricardo Angulo scored just three minutes later to make it 3-1, and that is exactly how the game ended.
With four teams still in contention for the playoffs just below Pumas on the table, getting the win is a must for Pumas. Anything less than a win and it could well be the end of their season.
Pachuca have been in excellent form and will be finishing on top of the table, regardless of what happens on the final day. They are six points clear of Tigres right now after the second-placed side lost their last two games while the table-toppers went on an unbeaten run.
They have lost just twice this season and dropped points in two other games. Winning 12 of their 16 matches has seen them collect 38 points so far, with a goal difference of 17.
The two losses were nothing less than shock results this season as they were against Santos Laguna and Club Leon. Pachuca lost 2-1 to Leon – a side that could miss out on the playoff spots this season. They are 11th in the league table right now and need at least a point in the final game to finish in the top 12.
The other loss was against Santos Laguna, a side that has an outside chance of making it to the playoffs as they sit 15th in the league. The 3-1 loss was the most shocking result of the season as Pachuca were on a winning run while Santos were struggling for points on the table.
Brian Lozano, Harold Preciado, and Jordan Carillo Rodriguez scored against the run of play in the game as Pachuca dominated possession and had more shots at goal. However, the penalty to give Santos the unlikely lead proved to be the turning point in the game. The home side got confident as Pachuca chased the game and scored two more goals to leave the home fans jubilated.
Nicolás Ibáñez pulled one back for the table toppers in the 82nd minute, but that was not enough to spark a comeback, and they lost 3-1.
We could see Pachuca resting their top players this weekend as they have nothing to play for. The top spot is sealed, and regardless of what happens in the final gameweek, Tigres will not be able to match up and will finish second. It will be a good chance to test out their fringe players this weekend and help the manager make his decisions for the games next month.
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|Pumas UNAM vs Pachuca Information|
|Teams||Pumas UNAM vs Pachuca|
|Location||Estadio Olimpico Universitario|
|Time||Sunday, May 1 at 1pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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