Tigres UANL vs Puebla: Tigres’s Defense Can Take Them All the Way

Written by: Nikhil Kalro
Published May 5, 2023
7 min read
  • Tigres UANL host Puebla this Saturday at the Estadio Universitario in one of the four playoff ties. The winner, of course, will enter the quarterfinals. 
  • Tigres UANL finished the regular season in seventh place with seven wins, four draws, six losses, and 25 points. 
  • Puebla finished the regular season in eleventh place with six wins, two draws, nine losses, and 20 points. 

Tigres UANL vs Puebla Odds

 Odds taken from Bet365.

Game resultOdds
Tigres UANL-208  

Tigres UANL vs Puebla Pick

Pick: Tigres UANL to win. (-208)

Tigres UANL vs Puebla Prediction

Tigres UANL vs Puebla Predictions

The regular season is over, and it’s time for the playoffs. Tigres UANL made a great start to this season but tailed off in the middle – ultimately ending the season in seventh place. This isn’t bad, but Tigres were expected to enter the top four at one point in the season, so it’s a bit of a disappointment as far as they are concerned. 

On the other hand, Puebla just did enough to enter the playoffs but haven’t looked solid enough to suggest that they’ll cause an upset in this fixture, and the odds table feels the same. Tigres are massive favorites heading into – so much so that a draw has extremely rewarding odds. 

For all of Tigres’ troubles this season, they don’t give away many chances, and Puebla’s attack doesn’t look up to the task of causing problems for such a solid defensive side. It’s best to go safe with this match and look for value in some of the other playoff fixtures. 

Previous Meetings

Tigres, unsurprisingly, have the better head-to-head record with 13 wins, seven losses, and eight draws. Puebla, have won two of the last five matches between the two sides, but Tigres won 1-0 when the two sides met less than two weeks ago.
 Andre-Pierre Gignac’s 49th-minute penalty was the difference between the two sides. Tigres thoroughly deserved the victory. They took 21 shots to Puebla’s 11, with six on target compared to Puebla's two. Tigres also had 56% of the possession. 

Of course, winning by a margin of one goal never feels convincing enough, but this was one of the few occasions were there was little doubt about who the better team was. 

Tigres UANL Lose 3-0 Leon in Strange Tie

Tigres match last weekend against Leon was always going to be a strange one. The two sides have a massive CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second-leg tie in a few days. There was never any doubt that Tigres would prioritize the knockout game since they’d already qualified for the playoffs. 

Tigres had beaten Leon 2-1 a few days back in the first-leg, so it’s hard to make anything of this loss. Of course, Leon will take a lot of encouragement from the win, but Tigres can’t let this loss affect them too deeply since they didn’t play their most potent squad. 

Alfonso Alvarado gave Leon the lead in the 17th minute, and Brian Rubio made it 2-0 just before the half-time whistle. Hector Yael Uribe Guevara made it  3-0 in the 67th minute to confirm the three points for Leon. 

Tigres should be too strong for Puebla on the weekend, regardless of how the second-leg semifinal goes. 

Tigres’s Defense Can Take Them All the Way

Tigres have conceded 17 goals this campaign. The 3-0 loss to Leon last week with a weakened starting XI didn’t help, but despite that, the defensive numbers look extremely solid. Igor Lichnovsky and Diego Reyes have been solid as a rock at the back and are the sort of pairing that can get Tigres to the final stages of the competition. 

Playoff games are often won on the tightest of margins, and they’re the sort of defenders who can make that little difference in the biggest of games. They’ve already shown it in the CONCACAF Champions League this season, where they’re one game away from entering the finals. 

This defensive strategy only works because of Andre-Pierre Gignac, of course. Gignac has arguably been the top forward in Liga MX in the last few seasons, so they don’t have to worry too much about goals and can focus on keeping things tight and letting Gignac do the business up front. 

Puebla End Regular Season in Style With 5-2 Win Over Club Tijuana

Puebla saved their best game of the season for the final week of the regular season. They showed all their attacking intent this game, as the 5-2 scoreline suggests. Federico Mancuello’s 13th-minute strike kicked things off, but he was unfortunate to put the ball into his own net 12 minutes to level the scores. 

Diego de Buen saved his blushes with a strike in the 32nd minute to make it 2-1. It looked like the match could go either way at half-time, but Guillermo Ayala ensured that it would go Puebla’s way in the second half with a brace. Ayala scored in quick succession (55’ and 61’) to make it 4-1. 

Braian Romero got one back for Club Tijuana in the 68th minute before Diego Barragan made it 5-2 to Puebla from the penalty spot in the 77th minute. Puebla outplayed Club Tijuana all game with 56% possession and 25 shots on goal to Tijuana’s 14. It was a cracking match and a cracking result for Puebla. 

Puebla’s Defense Has Been a Problem This Season

Puebla's defense has let them down all season. They have conceded 32 goals in the league this season, and their 5-2 win against Club Tijuana also showcased some of their defensive frailties. They are fun to watch because they approach every game positively, which is clear in the 26 goals they’ve scored his season, but this approach tends to get punished in big playoff ties. 

It’s also impressive that they’ve scored more league goals than Tigres this season without a marksman like Gignac on their side, but a big part of their success has also been the home form, which isn’t something they’ll have in this tie. 

Even when the two sides played each other a few days back, they were far too open, and Tigres’ profligacy in front of goal was the only reason Puebla didn’t lose that match by a bigger margin. Of course, Puebla will suggest that Tigres might have another game of the sort in the coming week, but this isn’t the prudent way to approach games, and it’s hard to see them sustain that sort of luck in another game against Tigres. 

They must start this match on the front foot and attempt to nick an early goal. It won’t be easy since Tigres have an incredible defense, and Puebla might leave themselves a bit exposed at the start of the game by taking this approach, but this is the best way for them to come out of this tie victorious.

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How to Watch Tigres UANL vs Puebla

  • Teams: Tigres UANL vs Puebla
  • Location: Estadio Universitario
  • Time: Sunday, May 7
  • How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo, and Fox Deportes
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Nikhil Kalro

Sports Betting Analyst

Betting Picks
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.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
Favourite Sportsbook: BetMGM Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: FanDuel Casino
9 years
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