Facing a Necaxa side in disarray, Pachuca have a great opportunity to finally break into a Liguilla spot.
With seven points from their last five matches, Pachuca has been able to stay close to the Liguilla spots. They sit just one point behind Tigres for 8th, three behind Monarcas for 7th, and four points back of Monterrey for 6th. With just 3 matches to play in the Liga MX Apertura 2018, Pachuca probably won’t be able to get higher than 6th in the table, but with matches against Leon and Atlas to end the season, nine points from the last three matches is within their grasp. They have to start by dispatching a struggling Necaxa side that has just seven points from their last 10 matches.
Necaxa: D v Atlas 2-2
Facing Atlas at home, Necaxa had a good chance to find some points. This was their first match under a new manager and sometimes that translates to a good performance in the first match. Atlas struck first, though, with Jefferson Duque scoring in the 25th minute. Luis Perez (61′) and Brian Fernandez (70′) would pull Necaxa into the lead in the second half, however, giving the Necaxa-faithful some hope. Unfortunately for Los Rayos, Duque would find his brace in the 87th minute, giving Atlas a 2-2 draw on the road.
Pachuca: W @ Veracruz 2-3
Coming into the match as heavy favorites against the club at the bottom of the Liga MX table, Pachuca didn’t want to come out too flat. Los Tiburones Rojos enjoyed some momentum early, but Franco Jara would score with nine minutes remaining in the first half to put Pachuca up 1-0. Just 17 minutes after the second half got underway, Victor Guzman would score, followed by Franco Jara’s brace two minutes later. Pachuca started to take their foot off the gas a bit, now that they were up 3-0. An own goal from Oscar Murillo got Veracruz on the board in the 66th minute. Cristian Menendez would score in the 77th and Pachuca was forced to weather a bit of a storm to pull out a 3-2 victory.
More from Necaxa
- Mauro Quiroga is set to join Atletico San Luis.
- Hugo Gonzalez will suit up for Monterrey
- Dont come out the house or you will end up like these goalkeepers
- Transfer Tracker: The fallout from the Chivas’ moves
- ‘Memo’ Vazquez tackles new Liga MX challenge
Beckeles – Hernandez – Alvarado – Mayorga
Alvarez – Perez – Gonzalez – Gallegos
It’s a bit hard to predict what the starting eleven will look like with a new manager in charge. The lineup used against Atlas worked semi-well despite the disappointing result. I would expect Brian Fernandez to start up-top, since he scored and provided a bit more than Claudio Riano. Now on the road against a dangerous offense, the 4-4-1-1 should still allow Necaxa to play a defensive style with Davila and Fernandez pushing forward on counter-attacks.
Martinez – Pena – Murillo – Tapias
Guzmán– Hernández – Martínez
Jara – Ulloa – Aguirre
Franco Jara came into the starting lineup last week and came away with a brace. It would be a shock to not see him in the lineup to start this week. Angelo Sagal was less than stellar, so I have Leo Ulloa replacing him in the front-three. If Emmanuel Garcia is still out, I expect Miguel Tapias to retain the starting left-back role.
Necaxa: Victor Davila. Los Rayos’ top goal-scorer has fallen quiet after a hot start to the year. He has six goals on the year, but his last non-penalty goal in Liga MX came back in August in a 1-1 draw with Tigres. He has to find his scoring-boots if Necaxa stands a chance in this match.
Pachuca: Victor Guzman. Guzman is the engine of the Pachuca attack. They young Mexican has been phenomenal this season and is the main man for Los Tuzos with five goals on the campaign. He along with Franco Jara have been the main source of goals for Pachuca and even against a leaky defense like Necaxa, he’ll need to come up big for his side.
Pachuca has their eyes on the prize: Liguilla. Necaxa is just trying to not fall below Lobos BUAP in the Liga MX table, at this point. Sometimes it comes down to who wants it more, and Pachuca should have more to play for. It also won’t help Necaxa’s case that Pachuca is just a more talented roster. Double-whammy.