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Pick: Scoring Draw
After making a slow start to the new Apertura season, Tigres UANL went into the 2023 Leagues Cup with two draws and a win in their opening three domestic league games. They started the competition well before Monterrey eliminated them in the second knockout round. Licking their wounds, the defending Liga MX champions resumed their league campaign with a comfortable win against a struggling Necaxa side.
The club suffered a shock defeat against Pumas UNAM in the next game. That result was pushed into the past with two back-to-back wins against Santos Laguna and Queretaro FC. However, the streak could not last long as Atlas beat Tigres in the previous match.
CF Monterrey’s domestic league campaign started on the front foot with two wins and a draw in the first three games before the break for the 2023 Leagues Cup commenced. The club’s run in that competition was quite stellar but they only finished fourth-best in the tournament. Their form dipped after that as they resumed the 2023 Apertura campaign with two back-to-back losses against Cruz Azul and Deportivo Toluca.
The slump ended with a stellar away win against Chivas Guadalajara before the five-time Liga MX champions regained momentum at home with a comfortable win against CONCACAF Champions League winners Club Leon. Now the team is set to face their arch-nemesis.
The first Clasico Regiomontano is expected to be an enthralling and mercurial affair with both teams giving it their all. Both strong clubs will surely capitalize on each other’s mistakes but will likely share the spoils once the dust settles.
There is a lot of history between these two clubs as this will be the 132nd Clasico Regiomontano across all competitions. Tigres UANL have won 47 derbies, while CF Monterrey have won 44. The remaining 40 encounters have ended in draws.
It is an extremely tightly contested fixture as the winning margin has been more than one goal in only five of the last 20 Clasico Regiomontanos in all competitions. So there could be goals in this encounter, but the margin will be small.
In the 2023 Leagues Cup Round of 16, a 97th-minute Sergio Canales penalty helped Monterrey advance to the next round by eliminating Tigres. With that win, the five-time Liga MX champions avenged their 2023 Clausura playoff loss against their arch-rivals.
The last league-phase encounter between these two clubs came in the 2023 Clausura season at the Estadio Universitario de Nuevo Leon. Luis Romo scored the only goal of the match in the 68th minute as the visitors waltzed away with all three points.
Tigres’ last league-stage victory over Monterrey came in the 2022 Clausura season. Andre-Pierre Gignac scored in the 69th minute before Florian Thauvin wrapped the three points up with a 76th-minute goal at home.
After winning the two games against Santos Laguna and Queretaro FC, Tigres UANL suffered a disappointing loss this past weekend against Atlas FC. The loss has come at a bad time for the defending champions because the momentum has been disrupted right before the derby.
To make matters worse, the match against Monterrey is not the only game Tigres will be concerned about. Shortly after the high-octane encounter, the defending champions will lock horns with the current Major League Soccer (MLS) champions Los Angeles FC in the Campeones Cup on Wednesday.
Tigres already have a few players on their injury list, including new signing Jonathan Herrera who made an instant impact by scoring two goals in two games for the club. He is still doubtful for both games and coach Robert Siboldi is now under immense pressure.
Tigres talisman Gignac was ineffective for the first time this season. In the first four appearances this season, the Frenchman scored three and assisted two goals. However, against Atlas, the 37-year-old had the fewest touches of any other outfield player who played the full 90 minutes.
After scoring against CF Monterrey in the 2022 Clausura season, Gignac has failed to score in the last five derbies. The attacker will be looking to end his drought in the next match with a goal that could see him become the joint-highest goalscorer of the Clasico.
At the end of the regular season of the 2023 Clausura campaign, an interesting statistic surfaced for Tigres. The club headed into the playoffs with a better record away from home than at home. In nine home games, they picked up 11 points. On the road, they secured 14 in eight.
This season, the defending champions are looking to improve their home form and have already equaled last season’s win tally of three games. The fourth has ended in a draw, leaving Tigres unbeaten at home – a record they would want to protect, especially against their rivals.
In the playoffs of the 2023 Clausura season, Monterrey’s title charge was ended by Tigres in the semifinals. Frustration has been growing since then and the 2023 Leagues Cup loss has added to it. The five-time Liga MX champions lost in that competition at the same stage as well.
The last piece of silverware that Monterrey added to their trophy cabinet was the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League trophy. Since then, the club has come close to winning a major competition on multiple occasions but faltered at the critical moments.
This time around, the club is determined to win the league title. In the last two games against title contenders Chivas Guadalajara and current Champions League holders Club Leon, Monterrey have pulled off emphatic wins and are aiming to secure a third successive win.
Tigres are unbeaten at home and possess the second-best home record in the league, but that will not be quite disadvantageous to Monterrey, who are currently maintaining the best away form in Liga MX.
Fernando Ortiz’s men have accumulated seven points from four away games so far. They have won two, drawn one and lost one. Their last outing was against Chivas which ended 2-1 in favor of the visitors and their only away loss came in the game before that against Toluca.
Monterrey will be without the services of Rodrigo Aguirre, German Berterame, Rogelio Funes Mori, and Ali Avila in the Clasico. Aguirre and Bererame have been on the sidelines for a while, but Mori’s ACL injury has dealt a major blow to the five-time champions.
Avila is not injured but will miss the derby as he serves his suspension. The teenager was sent off in the last match against Club Leon. Monterrey will rely on Sergio Canales and Jesus Corona for goals in the crucial encounter.
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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