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Even with two (or possibly three) names returning to Pumas’ starting roster after serving one-game suspensions from red cards, it’s tough to feel confident about them.
With or without those players, manager Andres Lillini seems to be running out of ideas.
Pumas only have one win in nine games — which was against a Puebla side who also have a single victory to their name.
Away from home, Pumas will have issues vs Tigres.
Tigres have yet to lose at home this season, and although they’ve been somewhat underwhelming in the 2nd half of 2021, they should have no problems on Saturday.
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Let’s dive into the forms of both Pumas and Tigres. For Pumas, there have been few highlights in the 2021 Apertura.
They’ve relied on an inexperienced roster, their striker has yet to find some rhythm, and as mentioned earlier, they’ve only been able to secure a win once this season.
Lillini is now on the hot seat for Pumas, and assuming they fail to claim one or three points, this could end up being his last game in charge.
As for Tigres, the expectations are a bit different for a club of their stature.
Despite their playoff-worthy spot in the league standings, Tigres and manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera will have the ambitions of lifting a Liga MX title in the near future.
Herrera is adjusting to his new role, as seen in their 3-4-2 (W-T-L) record, but there’s a lot of promise within his roster and setup.
And keeping in mind that they lost to their rivals last weekend, Herrera and his crew will be more than motivated to immediately place them back on track.
There’s a silver lining of sorts when powerful teams like Tigres are dealt with a loss.
As opposed to slipping up or falling into a bad run of form, these defeats can be a wake-up call for sleeping giants within Mexican soccer.
To an extent, Tigres fall within this category.
Although they haven’t been consistently worrisome in the Apertura, they are still expected to fight for a championship.
And after losing to crosstown rivals Monterrey 2-0 last weekend in the Clasico Regio, Herrera remained calm after the defeat and noted how well his team played.
Tigres will need a quick turnaround and will be capable of doing so against a Pumas squad who haven’t offered much this season.
It’s an ongoing problem that has yet to be resolved by Pumas.
Outside of striker Juan Dinenno, who will need more time to rediscover his full form, nobody has truly stepped up in the attack.
No other player has either scored more than once this season or is averaging more than 0.7 shots on target per 90 minutes.
This attacking roadblock won’t go away, and it says plenty about Pumas’ situation when their defenders have looked like their top players so far in 2021.
Whether it be due to tactical reasons or simply giving him a rest, Herrera left Nico “Diente” Lopez out of the starting XI from their last two games.
He emerged as a substitute in their most recent loss, and despite his cameo role in the 2nd half, he appeared dangerous with his attacking influence in the final third.
It’s only a matter of time before Herrera brings him back into the XI.
With six goals and two assists in eight matches, fans should expect the manager to bring the game-changer into the fold for this weekend’s match.
And with Lopez in the XI, Tigres’ chances for three points will go up significantly.
|Tigres vs Pumas Information|
|Teams||Tigres vs Pumas|
|Location||Estadio Universitario (San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico)|
|Time||Saturday, September 25th at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN|
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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