Tigres vs Pachuca – Saturday, January 27, 5:00 PT/8:00ET – Estadio Universitario, San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico.
Our Liga MX game takes us to the Monterrey suburb of San Nicolás de los Garza where Tigres UANL will host Pachuca in what will be the repeat of last year’s CONCACAF Champions League final. It was a final that was to finally crown Tigres as continental champions and see them represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Instead, however, Pachuca snatched the title away and would ultimately finish third at the FIFA Club World Cup. Perhaps Tigres only solace can be found in the fact that Pachuca were abysmal throughout the Clausura last season and the Apertura this season missing out on the Liguilla twice in a row, whereas Tigres lifted another Mexican championship after beating city rivals Monterrey in the Apertura final.
Going by the last two half-seasons Tigres should, therefore, be the favourites on Saturday. Pachuca had a slow start to the Clausura, but at the same time seem to have adjusted its focus back to Liga MX. After a defeat against Pumas and a draw against América Pachuca utterly dismantled Lobos on matchday 3. In truth, Pachuca was strong in all three games and should have recorded more points from the start of the season.
Tigres in the meantime seem to suffer a bit from a Liga MX Apertura title hangover. Traditionally, a slow starter Los Felinos lost to Puebla on matchday 1, defeated Santos Laguna on matchday 2 and then dominated Querétaro in a 0-0 draw on matchday 3. Four points at this stage are certainly not enough for a team of Tigres’ calibre, but with Los Felinos focused on winning a continental title this season do not be surprised if it will take some time for the Monterrey based club to find its full form.
Pachuca in the meantime know how to get a result at the Universitario and with the club in good form do not be surprised if Los Tuzos take all three points on Saturday.
Tigres vs Pachuca – Player to look out for:
Enner Valencia #13 – Tigres UANL
With one goal in three games, Enner Valencia has somewhat fallen short of his explosive start in the first half of the season. At the same time scoring a hat-trick and being sent off is not necessarily a benchmark to follow for the prolific Ecuadorian forward. With André-Pierre Gignac expected to return to the starting lineup expect Valencia to drop deep as Tigres head coach Ricardo Ferretti will likely look to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Valencia operating off target man Gignac.
Keisuke Honda #2 – Pachuca
Keisuke Honda has finally found his form. Joining Pachuca in the fall the Japanese midfielder struggled with injuries and playing at altitude for the most of the Apertura. That, however, seems to be in the past as Honda had a perfect display against Lobos on matchday 3. Distributing the ball, he looked like the star he was for CSKA Moscow back in Russia and was without a doubt the best player in the third round of the Clausura.
Tigres vs Pachuca – Match Stats
- Tigres are unbeaten in 18 home games.
- Pachuca have recorded just one win in the last nine away matches.
- Tigres have been without a clean sheet in five matches
- Pachuca head coach Diego Alonso has a winning record against Tigres head coach Ricardo Ferretti: W4 D1 L3
- The two teams faced each other in the 2017 CONCACAF Champions League final with Pachuca lifting the trophy in the end.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Tigres vs Pachuca – 1-2
Tigres vs Pachuca – Possible Lineups
Guzman – Ayala, Juninho, Torres, Rodríguez – Duenas, Carioca – Aquino, Valencia, Vargas – Gignac
Coach: Ricardo Ferretti
Blanco – Martínez, Herrera, Murillo, Garcia – V. Guzmán, J. Hernandez, Aguirre (Palacios) – Sagal, Honda – Jara
Coach: Diego Alonso
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.