Clásico double-header highlights Matchday 9

The 96th regular-season Clásico Capitalino is on tap this weekend. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
The 96th regular-season Clásico Capitalino is on tap this weekend. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

Liga MX returns after the FIFA break with a pair of Clásicos – one in Guadalajara followed by another in Mexico City.

After the 4-0 shellacking El Tri received from Argentina, Mexico fans probably don’t want to think about soccer right now. But Liga MX resumes this weekend with a Matchday 9 schedule that features a Clásico double-header on Saturday night.

Querétaro’s position atop the table will be threatened by the simple fact that they have a bye this weekend. Both Santos and América could climb past the Gallos Blancos (17 points) by winning their respective matches.

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Santos (16 points) is coming off their own bye on Matchday 8, so they have not played since their 2-2 tie at León on Aug. 28. The Guerreros host Pachuca on Sunday. América (15 points) will tangle with the Pumas in the often-heated Clásico Capitalino.

Two new coaches will make their debut on Friday night, but both are familiar to Liga MX fans and both have won league titles. Gustavo Matosas takes over at Atlético San Luis, kicking off his tenure in charge of the Tuneros with a visit to Puebla. Robert Dante Siboldi is now the coach at Cruz Azul and his first match will be in Veracruz.

But the most attractive games take place Saturday night. The afternoon provides a tasty appetizer, too, as the fourth-place Rayos of Necaxa travel to Monterrey to do battle with the eight-place Rayados.

Clásico following Clásico

Clásico Tapatío
The Chivas punished Atlas last season, winning the Clásico Tapatío 3-0. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images) /

Then comes a double-dose of Clásico Fever beginning at 7 p.m. Guadalajara will square off against Atlas in the Clásico Tapatío. This will be the 148th regular-season meeting between the two teams and the Chivas enjoy a slight edge, winning 54, losing 45, with 48 draws. Last season, Guadalajara overran Atlas 3-0 with Alexis Vega snaring a hat trick. However, the Zorros are having the better season thus far in the Apertura 2019, in 6th place with a respectable 4-1-3 record. The Chivas, on the other hand, have underwhelmed, buried in 15th place with a 2-2-3 record. Guadalajara coach Tomás Boy will likely not continue as coach if his boys fail to win at Estadio Akron.

Immediately following the battle royale in the Jalisco state capital, attention will turn to Mexico City for the Clásico Capitalino. América hosts UNAM in this intense and entertaining rivalry. The two clubs have faced off on the pitch in league play on 95 previous occasions with the Aguilas coming out winners 34 times, with 37 draws and 24 victories for the Pumas. UNAM currently holds bragging rights after handing América their second consecutive shut-out of the Clausura 2019 by securing a 1-0 win at home.

The FIFA break has allowed América to arrive at this latest Clásico Capitalino in improving health. Striker Henry Martín – who has missed the entire season so far – is expected to be available Saturday as are Giovani dos Santos (out since Matchday 4) and Renato Ibarra.

The Santos-Pachuca contest brings down the curtain on Matchday 10. The Guerreros can climb back into first place with a win over the schizophrenic Tuzos. Santos is the league’s only perfect team at home (4-0-0), while Pachuca has struggled with inconsistency all season.