Club América vs Pumas – Saturday 7 pm PT/ 10:00pm Estadio Azteca – Mexico City.
The Clásico Capitalino is back. Played since 1962 the match represent two of the most popular teams and two out of the three teams that represent Mexico City in Mexico’s top flight—the third is Cruz Azul.
Like it is the case in most city derbies the match between the two clubs goes far beyond what happens on the field but is also perceived as a struggle between social classes. Club América owned by the powerful Televisa media conglomerate has always represented the elite of the country. Considered the wealthiest club in the country América are perhaps also the most hated as well as most loved team in Mexico.
Pumas UNAM, on the other hand, represents the middle class and the elite. Established as part of Mexico’s largest university Pumas were originally an amateur club that shunted professionalism and instead recruited from within the student body. That is of course no longer the case today and Pumas, who are still owned by the university, are considered one of the strongest and wealthiest clubs themselves.
While it is a fierce rivalry, the Clásico Capitalino is more important to Pumas fans than Club América fanaticos. América’s biggest rival has always been Chivas from Guadalajara, who represent the ordinary people in Mexico. That said the match on Saturday still represents one of the greatest games in Mexico.
The 87,000 seat Estadio Azteca will surely be sold out and will provide a breathless atmosphere between two clubs that need three points to not fall behind expectations early on in the season. Both América and Pumas have started the season with a win, and a defeat and three points are therefore mandatory to stay in the Liguilla race.
Club América vs Pumas – Players to look out for:
Diego Laínez #34 – Club América
Diego Laínez is Mexico’s answer to the United States and Borussia Dortmund wunderkind Christian Pulisic. A quick and dynamic attacking player Laínez debuted in Liga MX as a 16-year-old last season and quickly took on a significant role for Club América. During the Supercopa, Laínez was spotted taking free kicks, and corner kicks for his side, which indicates that Club América head coach Miguel Herrera trusts him to carry a heavy load. Whether the club will be able to hang on to the talented winger, however, remains to be seen. The Liga MX is a fantastic league, but to develop into a true global superstar, Laínez will have to move abroad.
José van Rankin #2 – Pumas UNAM
José van Rankin is one of the most fascinating players in Liga MX. Of Dutch descent, van Rankin can play right back, right midfield and also in defensive midfield. Still, only 24-years-old van Rankin is one of many potential Mexican players, who could be well suited for the European game—especially because he holds an EU passport. Developed by Pumas’ academy van Rankin has been with the club since 2012 and is one of the club’s most consistent performers.
Club América vs Pumas – Match Stats
- This is the 94 Clasico Capitalino in the Liga MX regular season.
- Club América have a winning record (W34 D37 L24).
- Club América have not lost in the last four meetings between the two clubs.
- Pumas have not won this fixture since the Apertura semi-final in 2015 where América had two men sent off.
Prediction: Club América vs Pumas 2-2
Club América vs Pumas – Possible Lineups
Marchesín – Alvarez, Samudio, Valdez – Pablo Aguilar, Paulo Aguilar – Orrantia, Quintero, Dominguez – Peralta, Romero
Coach: Miguel Herrera
Saldivar – van Rankin, Alcoba, Quintana, Mendoza – Cabrera, Gonzalez – Rabello – Calderon, Castillo, Gallardo
Coach: Francisco Palencia
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.