Pumas vs Tigres UANL – Sunday, February 4, 10:00PT/13:00ET – stadio Olímpico Universitario, Mexico City, Mexico.
The derby of the universities will see Tigres UANL travel to Mexico City to take on PUMAS UNAM. Both clubs have their origin as university teams, but whereas Pumas remain associated with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) are administered by the construction company CEMEX.
The link with UANL, therefore, is only a loose one in the case of Tigres. But for Pumas, the connection to Mexico’s largest university, which has an annual endowment of $2.3 billion, remains strong. As a result, the club is supported by the intellectuals and middle class of the country. Pumas also have one of the most recognised shirts in the world of sport with the stylised Puma face prominently being displayed at the centre of the clubs’ shirts instead of a tiny logo on the chest.
Pumas are therefore one of the biggest brands in Mexican and are considered one of los cuatro grandes—the big four—among Chivas, Cruz Azul and América. Tigres alongside city rivals Monterrey are a relative newcomer. But together with their city rivals they command the biggest budget in the competition and have challenged the status quo of the big four. To underline this Tigres won the Apertura this season beating out Monterrey in the final.
Pumas, on the other hand, had a miserable Apertura and the lack of success has meant that their status of a big four side has been somewhat challenged. But with Nico Castillo returning from an injury Pumas have had a great start to the Clausura and now sit in the first spot on the table.
Adding Erick Torres to a fantastic looking Castillo further adds firepower to head coach David Patiño’s side and Pumas are looking to get back into the Liguilla after missing twice out on the end of the season playoffs. It is still early in the season but to push for a playoff spot they will have to continue collecting points against Mexico’s champion, if you are looking to place a bet, take a look at BetOnline they will offer attractive odds for the match.
Tigres in the meantime want to get their season going after collecting just two wins in their first four games. With seven points, however, they are just behind Pumas, and a traditionally slow starter showed on matchday 4, where they beat Pachuca 3-2 that they are a force to be reckoned with once again this season. With this in mind expect a wide open game in Mexico’s capital on Sunday with Tigres perhaps holding a slight edge thanks to their depth in the squad.
Pumas vs Tigres – Players to look out for:
Erick Torres #31 – Pumas UNAM
Signed from Houston Dynamo Erick “Cubo” Torres will finally provide Pumas with an alternative, or partner, up front. A talented striker Torres never fully managed to achieve consistency in his career whether it was with Chivas and Cruz Azul in Liga MX or with Chivas USA and Houston in MLS. Provided with the right environment Pumas, however, believe that the 25-year-old forward can add the necessary firepower to succeed in the league and help propel Pumas back into the playoffs.
Ismael Sosa #18 – Tigres UANL
With André-Pierre Gignac, Enner Valencia and Eduardo Vargas Tigres have plenty of firepower up front. But what often gets overlooked is the support crew, and the 31-year-old Ismael Sosa is a consistent supply line of goals and assists should the forward line not get the job done. Signed from Pumas in 2016 he will want to show a trick or two against his former club.
Pumas vs Tigres – Match Stats
- With four goals Pumas’ Nicolás Castillo is second in the goalscoring race behind Santos Laguna forward Djaniny.
- Together with Osvaldo Martinez (Santos Laguna) and Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Tigres UANL’s Ismael Sosa leads the league with three assists.
- Undefeated in the first four matches of the Clausura Pumas are currently first in the table.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Pumas vs Tigres 1-3
Pumas vs Tigres – Lineups
Saldivar – Fuentes, Quintana, Arribas, van Rankin – Cabrera, Díaz – Gallardo, Barrera – Torres, Castillo
Head Coach: David Patiño
Guzman – J. Torres, Ayala, Juninho, Damm – I. Sosa, Dueñas, Carioca, Aquino – Gignac, Vargas
Head Coach: Ricardo Ferretti
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds 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.