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Tigres UANL to win
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Tigres UANL will go in as the favorites even though they have had to fight it hard against Cruz Azul in their last five meetings. They have won twice and lost just once in those matches, which was last year in the league.
In the first leg of the quarter-finals earlier this week, Tigres dominated the first half but had to sit back and defend in the second after Nico Lopez got sent off. The red card forced them to change their tactics, but the score line remained intact, and they ended up winning 1-0.
Jesús Dueñas found the back of the net just before the halftime break, and that was enough for them to seal the win. Tigres had 57 percent of the possession in the first half and managed seven shots at goal. That was halved in the second half as they managed just three shots while having just 31 percent of the possession.
Cruz Azul battled hard in the second half and had 11 attempts at goal but managed just three on target and failed to get any of them past the keeper. They will be looking to continue from where they left off and put pressure on the home team from the very first minute.
However, we see Tigres holding their own in the second leg and squeezing through the second leg given how well they managed to protect their slender lead for a third of the game. Their resolute defense is a massive green flag for them going into this game.
Tigres UANL did not enjoy a good finish to the league season and had to settle for second place. They had chances to grab the top spot and take the battle until the very end with Pachuca but slipped up in the last three games.
After a strong start to the season, Tigres were one of the favorites to claim the top spot in the league season. They had lost just once in their opening 11 games – winning eight and drawing twice from the other ones.
However, the loss to Pachuca in early April proved crucial, and they lost their momentum. The 2-1 defeat after Víctor Guzmán’s late winner for the home side saw them take the top spot away from Tigres.
Miguel Herrera’s side bounced back with two wins against Toluca and Queretaro but slipped up in the final three matches. They lost 2-0 to Club Necaxa, thanks to early goals from Rodrigo Aguirre and Alonso Escoboza. The home side took a two-goal lead inside the first 25 minutes, and Tigres could not respond quickly enough or well enough to begin to overturn it.
Diego Valdés and Henry Martín scored in either half for Club America in the next game, and Tigres’s chances of finishing on top of the table were done and dusted. The 2-0 loss at home saw them fall 6 points behind Pachuca in the league table with just one match left.
They tried to go all out for the win on the final day to get some momentum ahead of the quarterfinals but could not manage it. They drew 1-1 against Atlas, and even that required a 92nd-minute penalty from Nico López to salvage the point.
Tigres had lost more games in those last six matches than they did in the entire season, and that was reflected in the – occasionally – circumspect football they played at times during the first leg. They were unable to get anywhere close to their best against Cruz Azul in the first leg of the quarterfinal and being down to ten men didn’t help in that regard.
Jesús Dueñas’s goal right before half time proved crucial as Azul were handed a life line when Nico Lopez was sent off at the hour mark. They came back strong in the game but could not get past the Tigres defense and get back on level terms.
The home side will be looking to seal the tie early in the second leg but will have to be careful of a comeback. They were 2-0 up when these two sides met in the league but ended up drawing 2-2 after Luis Abram and José Rivero scored in injury time of both halves.
Nico López will be missing the game after he was given a straight red card. He was initially handed a yellow card, but VAR changed it to red, thus suspending him until the semi-finals round, if Tigres get there.
Manager Miguel Herrera will not be on the sidelines after he too was sent off during the game. There are no injury worries for Tigres, and they should have everyone else available for the game.
Cruz Azul slipped up during the end of their league season and will be hoping they do not repeat that in the second leg of the quarter-final. They could have finished in the top 4 during the league stage but managed to pick up just five points from their last five matches – missing out on automatic qualification for the quarter-final by a point.
They lost to Guadalajara and Atletico de San Luis while drawing against Mazatlan and Club America. Their only win in the last 6 matches was against Queretaro – a side who finished 16th in the league. Even in that game, they managed to score just once, and that goal came via Pablo Aguilar in the 74th minute.
In the reclassification round, they were up against Club Necaxa and could not get the win in normal time. They took the lead early in the second half after the two sides failed to break each other down in the first 45 minutes of the game.
Juan Escobar handed them the lead in the 56th minute but that did not translate into control of the game. They had just 40 percent of the possession in the second half and scored with their only shot on target.
Club Necaxa knocked on the door throughout the second half and finally got their equalizer with minutes left. Rodrigo Aguirre scored in the 88th minute, and after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was awarded – taking the game to the penalty shootout.
Sebastián Jurado was their hero in the shootout as he saved twice – denying Fabricio Formiliano and Arturo Palma. Luckily, Ángel Romero, Adrián Aldrete, and Luis Abram scored their chances for Azul, and they ended up winning 3-1.
It was the exact opposite in the quarter final first leg as Azul dominated the second half but failed to get a goal. They were up against ten men for over 30 minutes but managed just three shots on target from their 11 attempts.
If Juan Maximo Reynoso’s men are to get past Tigres and make it to the semi-final, they will need to fight back as they did when the two sides met in the league earlier this season.
No player is injured or suspended for Cruz Azul, and they should have the full squad available for the quarterfinal’s second leg.
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|Tigres UANL vs Cruz Azul Information|
|Teams||Tigres UANL vs Cruz Azul|
|Time||Sunday, May 15 at 9.05pm 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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