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Tigres UANL will be going on an all out attack against Atlas from the start as they need at least three goals to just stay in this contest. This could very well leave them vulnerable at the back as they would have too many players committed to overturning a big deficit.
Atlas love playing on the counter and will be waiting to pounce on their chances and seal the tie early. They are expected to sit deep in their half from the start, which could work well for them as Tigres find it hard to break sides with a deep block.
Even in the first leg, Tigres dominated the possession but could not make the most of their chances. Both sides had 11 shots on goal, with Atlas managing five on target while Tigres managed just two. That was the main difference between the two sides, and the three extra shots the home side managed on target resulted in their three goals and a healthy lead in the tie.
In the last five meetings between these two sides, Tigres have managed to win just once, and that was by a 2-0 scoreline back in January 2021. Carlos González scored in the 17th minute, while the second goal came with the last kick of the game from Julián Quiñones, who plays for Atlas now on loan and scored in the first leg.
The issue for both sides is that they are prone to crumbling under pressure – and both teams will be hoping that the same continues for their respective opponents, although there’s only one side that will be under any pressure in this second leg.
Tigres have not been in good form, and that reflected in the first leg of the semi final. They could not make the most of their possession and were unable to get their shots on target often enough.
Miguel Herrera’s side had 65% of the ball in the second half and were on the attack for most of the game. However, they conceded two goals from the three shots Atlas managed on target in that half. Luis Reyes scored at the hour mark, and Julián Quiñones made it 3-0 after Julio Furch had scored from the spot in the first half.
Tigres managed to hit the post once in the match and that was the closest they came to hoping there is a chance of a big comeback in this fixture. Their forwards need to be a lot more clinical as they missed two big chances, while Atlas took all their chances and scored. Seven of the 11 shots taken by Tigres were off target, two were on target, one was blocked, and the other hit the post.
Even in the quarter finals, Tigres escaped from falling to Cruz Azul because they finished higher in the league table. They were held to a 1-1 draw by the side that finished 8th in the league table.
In their last 9 matches, Tigres have managed just three wins – two of them coming against sides that failed to make it to the knockout stages. They edged past Queretaro with 1-0 win, and then defeated Toluca 3-0 in the next game week. Since then, their only win has been over Cruz Azul in the first leg of the quarter finals.
To make things worse for Herrera, his side have lost five times in the last nine matches. The defeats have come at the hands of Pachuca, Club Necaxa, Club America, Cruz Azul in the quarter finals second leg and now against Atlas in the semi final first leg. They have failed against all the sides that have done well this season and that will be a major concern for the manager.
Nico López is still suspended for Tigres, and he is unlikely to play again this season unless his teammates make an incredible comeback and make it to the final. Javier Aquino’s season is over after his red card in the second leg of the quarter finals against Cruz Azul. He will not be able to play in the final even if his side makes it.
While Tigres have been in poor form, Atlas are on a six-match unbeaten run. They did end the season in poor form by dropping seven points from their last four matches, but still managed to finish 3rd. They could have easily overtaken Tigres in the league table as well, if they had picked up those seven points.
In the quarterfinals, Atlas faced Guadalajara and managed to edge out a win. They won the first leg 2-1 away from home, but could not replicate the same in their home fixture. They were held to a 1-1 draw, but that was enough for Atlas to go through on aggregate.
The semi final first leg saw them get back to good form and also find their feet in front of the goal. The players were clinical against Tigres and Diego Martin Cocca will be hoping for more of the same in the second leg. His side scored three goals from their five shots on target – which included two goals from three shots in the second half despite having just 35% possession.
Atlas will be looking to get better as the match goes on as they are slowly finding their rhythm. They lost twice in their last six matches and were unable to beat Cruz Azul – the side Tigres managed to knock out in the quarter finals.
However, they will be pleased with the way they have played against Tigres in the past as the last time they conceded three goals to them was back in 2018. Atlas ended up losing 3-1 in Apertura that season, but a similar scoreline this weekend would be in their favor as they will go through with a 4-3 win on aggregate.
Atlas have conceded three goals in a game against Tigres on two other occasions but they both were over a decade ago. The 3-0 losses came in Apertura back in 2011 and 2008.
Making things even better for Atlas would be the fact that they have a good record away at Tigres. They have lost just four times at the Estadio Universitario in the last decade, despite playing there every season. Two of those losses were by a single goal, while the others were by 2 goals – a 2-0 defeat back in 2018 and a 3-1 in the same year.
Jeremy Márquez is still suspended for Atlas, and his season is done. He will be serving the final match of his suspension in the Liga MX Clausura final if his side holds on and makes it. Gaddi Aguirre got injured in the semi final first leg and he is doubtful for the second leg at Tigres.
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|Tigres UANL vs AtlasInformation|
|Teams||Tigres UANL vs Atlas|
|Location||Estadio Universitario [UANL]|
|Time||Saturday, May 21 at 9pm EST|
|How to Watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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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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