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Odds taken from Betway
Pick: Toluca to win (-175)
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There are many high-stakes games in Liga MX this week, but this isn’t one of them. Toluca have already qualified for the playoffs, and Necaxa aren’t going to qualify no matter what happens in this game. Necaxa’s loss to Atlas in the previous game week confirmed that they won’t qualify for the playoffs.
Toluca could finish the regular season in second place, but they’ll need Club America and Guadalajara to drop points. As expected, Toluca are strong favorites heading into this tie, and they’re playing at home, but there isn’t a lot to win by picking them. The odds for Necaxa winning this match are extremely rewarding, but it’s hard to make a case for them.
It’s best to play safe and just take up the small rewards for a Toluca win. Necaxa have won just three matches and drawn five this season, and it’s hard to make a case for either when they’re the away side and facing one of the best teams in the league.
Toluca also have a fantastic head-to-head record against Necaxa. They’ve won 14, drawn 10, and lost five of their 29 matches against Necaxa. In fact, Toluca are unbeaten in the last five meetings between the two sides and have won four of the last five matches.
The last meeting between the two sides was in March 2022. It was a low-scoring affair, with Toluca winning 1-0 on the day. Camila Savezzo’s 2nd-minute strike was enough to give Toluca all three points on the day.
This wasn’t the best of games, with both sides taking just nine shots each. Necaxa had 62% of the possession but couldn’t carve out too many chances. They took just one shot on target compared to Toluca’s three. If Necaxa put in a similar display this time, they should be satisfied because this could be a one-sided game. Necaxa have declined since this match, and Toluca have greatly improved.
Toluca put in one of their most underwhelming displays of the season in a 1-1 draw against Juarez over the weekend. Tiago Volpi put Toluca ahead just before the half-time whistle from the penalty spot. Toluca were relatively comfortable before Diego Chavez Collins leveled the scores in the 69th minute.
Toluca huffed and puffed for the winners but were unsuccessful, and matters got worse when Brayan Angulo got sent off in the 89th minute. It was a frustrating day for last season’s runners-up, who are now in fourth place on the league table.
They were marginally the better team, with 56% of the possession and 19 shots to Juarez’s 12, but this was to be expected of them at home. The lack of ideas toward the end of the game will concern the management and staff just before the playoffs. Toluca looked like they could finish at the top of the table at one point, so ending in fourth or fifth in the league will be quite underwhelming.
Despite the concerning display this weekend, Toluca have been one of the best teams in the league this season. They’ve arguably been better this season than last; remember that they reached the finals last season.
They’ve scored 31 goals, with only Club America scoring more. They’ve also been quite solid defensively – conceding just 19 goals so far this season. They’ve not been in the best form recently, winning just two of their last three matches. They’ve drawn two matches and lost one in their five, which isn’t the best preparation for the playoffs.
A win in this match could take them to second place in the league table, which is always a plus as you’ll get an easier draw in the playoffs. Forward Edgar Mendez hasn’t been in the best of form recently, which is another concern. He’s scored six goals in this campaign, which isn’t a bad return, but forwards from other sides have looked far more lethal.
An awful first-half set the tone for Necaxa’s 3-1 loss to Toluca over the weekend. Necaxa were the home side; this was their final shot at qualifying for the playoffs. They certainly didn’t play like a side that merited entering the playoffs. Brian Lozano opened the scoring for Atlas in the 22nd minute, and Julian Quinones added insult to injury by adding another two minutes later.
Quinones scored his second just before the half-time whistle to essentially kill the tie, and kill Necaxa’s hopes of entering the playoffs. Necaxa got a consolation goal in the 82nd minute thanks to Edgar Mendez. It was too little, too late. Necaxa, to their credit, looked a bit better in the second half, which was reflected in the stats. They took 17 shots to Atlas’ 13 and even tested the opposition goalie six times.
It was ultimately a disappointing performance in a disappointing season.
Necaxa have just one win in their last five matches and three all season. No one is expecting a positive result for Necaxa in this tie, but Necaxa fans will be expecting a positive performance. Toluca will most likely head into this game without their strongest side, as they’ll be looking to avoid injuries before the playoffs.
It’s an excellent chance for Necaxa to play with some freedom. They have nothing to lose and should look to end the season on a high. They haven’t been too bad defensively this season, conceding just 21 goals. However, the same can’t be said for the attack. They’ve scored 16 goals this season, which is far too few for a team looking to enter the playoffs. The aim for next season has certainly got to be strengthening the attacking department.
They finished in 13th place in the Apertura, which wasn’t ideal either, but this is certainly worse. Manager Andres Lillini will be expected to improve the side next season; if he doesn’t, he’ll almost certainly get the sack.
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Teams: Toluca vs Necaxa
Location: Estadio Nemesis Diez
Time: Saturday, April 29 at 12:00 am EST onwards
How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo, and Fox Deportes
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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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