Liga MX’s Matchday 8 opens in Morelia, but Saturday offers a Clausura 2019 Finals rematch.
There’s no day off in Liga MX as Matchday 7 ended on Thursday night and Matchday 8 opens with two games on Friday night. Morelia hosts Veracruz and Atlas gets a visit from América to kick off the weekend.
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The marquee match-up takes place on Saturday when the Tigres welcome León to El Volcán. Since both clubs expect to make deep playoff runs, neither can afford to lose, so expect a high-intensity match. The Saturday night finale pits two teams that have disappointed their fan bases as the Chivas visit Estadio Azteca to play Cruz Azul. Also Saturday, Necaxa hosts Tijuana and Atlético San Luis travels to Pachuca.
On Sunday, Toluca will be on the UNAM campus to play the Pumas, Puebla visits league-leading Querétaro and FC Juárez hosts Monterrey.
The league takes two weeks off after Sunday’s games as national teams will be in the spotlight during the upcoming FIFA break.
Friday starts in Morelia, also finds Aguilas in Jalisco
Morelia is undefeated since firing coach Javier Torrente and their fans will expect another win against last-place Veracruz. The Tiburones are without a coach after Enrique Meza resigned Tuesday, following the team’s world record 33rd straight league match without a win.
The new Morelia coach, Pablo Guede, will make his home debut. The Argentine did his best managerial work at Colo Colo (2016-2018) where he won a league Cup and two league SuperCups, so Morelia fans hope he can win some hardware with the Monarcas, too.
The nightcap in Estadio Jalisco will be a real test for América who has seen 11 players miss at least one match, while its top two strikers are on the sidelines with long-term injuries. Coach Miguel Herrera has been making good use of the club’s academy players. Twenty-year-old José Angel López scored for América against Pachuca on Wednesday. The Aguilas will also be without central defender Emanuel Aguilera who picked up a red card vs the Tuzos.
Atlas must shake off a bitter ending against the Tigres who found the tying goal in minute 90+4 to deny the Zorros a momentum-building upset win. The result dropped Atlas to 1-1-2 at Estadio Jalisco so the Zorros can’t afford to drop more points at home, but América is the lone undefeated team in the league so this will be no easy task.
Tigres-Esmeraldas tops Saturday’s slate
This is a rematch of last season’s Finals that saw the Tigres shut out León over two games to win their 7th league title. The only score of the Clausura 2019 Finals came from star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac. Both teams have struggled to get wins this season, though each team only has one loss.
León’s offense has begun to click again (last season, the Esmeraldas led the league with 41 goals in 17 games), but their defense has not been as reliable. The visitors will look to attack through midfield behind Luis Montes and Fernando Navarro, who will look to provide scoring chances for forwards J.J. Macías and Angel Mena.
The Tigres will try to slow down the León attack by showing patience on offense, in essence playing keep-away. The feline offense has been inconsistent through seven games and coach Tuca Ferretti will demand greater efficiency from his wingers, particularly from Javier Aquino who has struggled to find form after missing four games with a broken nose.
In Mexico City, Cruz Azul faces a must-win game against struggling Guadalajara. If the Cementeros don’t win at home, management will have two weeks to consider the status of coach Pedro Caixinha. And that could spell the end of the Portuguese manager’s time with La Máquina.
The Chivas are coming off a bye but they have injury concerns as midfielders Eduardo “Chofis” López and Michael Pérez will not be available. Isaac Brizuela will be expected to pick up the slack, but a bigger change might come in the front line where fans have been clamoring for Alexis Vega to displace Oribe Peralta who has yet to score for the Chivas since coming over from América this summer.