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After notching just 19 points from 17 Liga MX games in the Apertura 2023 season, Queretaro FC finished 14th in the league and failed to qualify for playoffs
Deportivo Toluca experienced a shocking run in the Apertura 2023 season as they finished 12th, just two points ahead of Queretaro FC
When these two teams clashed in the Apertura 2023 season, Toluca clinched all three points with a stellar 3-1 win at Estadio Nemesio Diez
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In recent seasons, Queretaro has grown used to finishing towards the bottom end of the table. They have finished outside the playoff qualification zone in four out of the last five seasons. Expectations were a tad high when the side finished tenth at the end of the Clausura 2023 campaign, but a disappointing 14th-place finish in the last Apertura season crushed their spirits.
Toluca had their own troubles as the title drought extended to 14 years. The ten-time Liga MX champions last lifted the league trophy in 2010 and have failed to get their hands on any piece of silverware since then. They came close when they finished as runners-up in the 2017-18 season of Liga MX. However, last season, they did not even qualify for the playoffs.
Queretaro will have a home advantage in this encounter, but that did not matter last season, as the side was performing much better on the road. However, Toluca was horrendous away from home. Both sides will be aiming to work on their respective forms this season, but in this opening encounter, a draw is the most likely outcome.
Since 2010, these two clubs have clashed 27 times. Toluca has a significantly better record with 14 wins, leaving Queretaro with just five victories. The other eight matches have ended in stalemates.
In the Apertura 2023 season, Edgar Lopez bagged a brace, and goalkeeper Tiago Volpi netted a penalty for Toluca as the hosts nabbed a convincing 3-1 win over Queretaro. Camilo scored the only goal for the visitors that evening.
Queretaro’s last win over Toluca came recently, in the Clausura 2023 season, when Jonathan Torres’ 31st-minute strike was enough to give the hosts all three points in a game that the visitors thoroughly dominated.
Despite knowing their low goals for the Clausura 2024 season, Queretaro will be eager to start the season on the front foot. Toluca’s troubles will hand the hosts another advantage and if they can capitalize on that, Mauro Gerk’s men can take all available points.
The most exciting run for Queretaro came in the Apertura 2019 season, when the club finished fourth with a total point tally of 31. However, in the six seasons after that, Queretaro finished 17th or below on four occasions.
The club was just three points away from the final play-in spot, and this season, Queretaro will have their eyes fixated on one of the four play-in spots.
The bookmakers may have backed a struggling Toluca side with better odds, but considering the recent past, Queretaro has a better chance at Estadio Corregidora.
Three out of the last five league encounters between these two sides at this venue have ended in draws, and Queretaro have won the other two. Toluca’s last win in Queretaro’s backyard came in the Clausura 2018 season.
Extending their unbeaten streak against Toluca at home will also help Queretaro FC dodge defeat at home on opening day. Usually, teams perform better on home territory, but that was not the case for Queretaro last season.
In the Apertura 2023 season, Queretaro played eight games at home and managed to eke out a win in only one. They drew four and lost three of the remaining home games, picking up just seven points in their own backyard.
After finishing sixth in the Apertura and fourth in the Clausura seasons of the 2022-23 Liga MX campaign, Toluca were on an upward trajectory, with spectators and pundits considering the side as title contenders last season.
However, everything went downhill for the club in the Apertura 2023 season, as they finished 12th with a points tally of 21, which was 19 points away from the top of the table and merely six away from the bottom.
In the Clausura 2024 campaign, under a new coach, Toluca will aim to regain lost momentum and secure a finish in the playoff spots
After a disappointing run in the Apertura 2023 season, Ignacio Ambriz parted ways with the club by mutual consent. Toluca will now start the new season with Renato Paiva in the dugout and expect the Portuguese coach to get the club back on track.
Paiva is familiar with the Mexican top division, as he was in charge of Club Leon in 2022. He will have a supportive and fully-fit Toluca squad available for the upcoming match.
Toluca has not been extremely busy in the transfer window before the Clausura 2024 season but has secured the services of Federico Pereira, snatching him away from Uruguayan club Liverpool FC.
The center-back was a crucial figure in the Liverpool FC defense all season, especially in the Primera Division final against Penarol. Pereira’s club kept a clean sheet in both legs, securing a 3-0 aggregate win.
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Teams: Queretaro FC vs. Deportivo Toluca
Location: Estadio Corregidora
Time: Friday, January 12 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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