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Tigres UANL scraped past Pumas UNAM in the Liga MX Apertura 2023 Liguilla semifinals to reach the final for a second successive season
Club America breezed past Atletico de San Luis in their Liguilla semifinal and have reached the final for the first time since December 2019
When these two giant clubs collided in the regular phase of the current Apertura season, the game ended in a goalless draw
Our Pick: Draw.
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Tigres extended their unbeaten streak to six games after securing a 1-1 draw in the second leg of the semifinal encounter against Pumas. However, the defending champions have failed to convert draws to wins on multiple occasions, as they have drawn four and won only two of their last six games in Liga MX.
The Apertura 2023 season started with disappointment for Club America as they suffered a 2-1 loss against FC Juarez at home. However, after that, the club dodged defeat in each of their remaining 16 league games, finishing the regular season seven points clear at the top of the table. The 13-time Liga MX champions will be a tad disappointed after losing their 19-game unbeaten streak against San Luis in the second leg of the semifinal.
Club America coach Andre Jardine fielded a second-fiddle side in the previous match because his side had a commanding five-goal advantage after a prolific first-leg performance. The starting lineup is expected to be at full strength against Tigres. Club America are favorites to lift the title this Apertura season, but they might struggle to get a win at Estadio Universitario
The two sides have a lot of history, but the major concern for the hosts in this encounter will be their recent form against Club America. In the last nine encounters between these two teams, Club America have won eight, and one game has ended in a draw, leaving Tigres with no wins.
Tigres' last win against the 13-time Liga MX champions came in the first leg of the Apertura 2019 playoff quarterfinal. Playing at Estadio Azteca, Tigres came from a goal down to win 2-1. However, they lost the second leg 4-2, giving Club America a semifinal ticket after a 5-4 aggregate result.
In the regular Apertura 2023 season, Tigres struggled on the road on multiple occasions, ultimately concluding the phase with just three away wins in eight games, drawing two and losing three in the process.
At home, they were unbeaten, and that streak is still alive in the playoffs. The defending champions ended their long losing streak against Club America when they held their next opponents to a goalless draw at home in the final regular season game.
Luis Quinones has been a crucial creative player for Tigres this season. However, the winger did not feature in the semifinal encounters against Pumas UNAM due to a thigh injury.
The Colombian has bagged four assists and two goals this season and remains doubtful ahead of the first-leg encounter against Club America in the final.
After scoring 11 goals and nabbing four assists in 15 appearances this season, Andre-Pierre Gignac has been Tigres’ MVP yet again.
The Frenchman missed the first leg of the semifinal due to a pelvic injury, but fans were relieved to see him get a seven-minute runout in the closing stages of the last match.
Club America have performed well over the last few seasons but have squandered an opportunity to lift their record-extending 14th Liga MX title on multiple occasions. After winning their last title in 2018, Club America were runners-up in 2019.
After that, the club failed to reach the final in every season, making this season’s appearance in the final their first in four years. Andre Jardine’s side is just two positive results away from ending their title drought, and they do not have any major injury concerns ahead of this match.
Club America have only lost against FC Juarez and San Luis this season. Surprisingly, both defeats came in their own backyard.
The 13-time league champions are unbeaten in all away games this season. Club America have played nine on the road, won six, and drawn three. A win or a draw in the next game will ensure the team finishes unbeaten on the road in this Apertura season.
After knowing that an aggregate victory was imminent, Jardine fielded a second-string Club America side against San Luis in the second leg. Alex Zendejas and Julian Quinones were benched and given a 23-minute runout.
The duo and other first-team players will return to the starting eleven in this encounter against Tigres. Tigres will be tasked to keep Zendejas, Quinones, and Henry Martin at bay.
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Teams: Tigres UANL vs. Club America
Location: Estadio Universitario
Time: Thursday, December 14 at 4:00 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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