Game: Tijuana Xolos vs Tigres UANL
When: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Where: Estadio Universitario, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Time: 5:00 P.M. PST
TV: Univision Deportes
The Tijuana Xolos will play their 11th game in the Liga MX Clausura 2018 this Saturday as the team will face Tigres UANL at the Estadio Universitario.
Club Tijuana will have a very tough game and is coming off a dreadful 2-0 loss against the New York Red Bulls at the Estadio Caliente in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. The team will look to bounce back from that defeat and continue the form it had going in the Liga MX. The Border City Dogs have not lost in their last three Liga MX games and are coming off a 3-1 win against Lobos BUAP at home. In this undefeated run, the Xoloitzcuintles have scored seven goals and have only conceded two. In their last road game, the Aztec Canines achieved an impressive scoreless draw against Club America at the Estadio Azteca. The Xoloitzcuintles have yet to score on the road this season as all 10 goals scored in the Clausura 2018 have come at the Estadio Caliente. However, there have been some impressive results away from home, like that draw against Las Aguilas, and also a 0-0 result against the other team from Nuevo Leon, Monterrey.
The Xolos have needed some luck to achieve these results along with some heroic performances from the goalkeeper, Gibran Lajud. Diego Cocca’s tactics have also played a role in this as his game plan on the road is very clear. The Argentine manager will not take risks away from the Mictlan and will opt for a very conservative and defensive style of play. In that draw against Club America, Cocca even went with a 5-4-1 formation for the first time this year that could be making a return in this match. The South American boss also used an alternate lineup in that match and is likely to do the same against Tigres UANL with a crucial CONCACAF Champions League fixture in the week. Club Tijuana’s best bet will be to strike on counter attacks and take advantage of the one or two opportunities the team does receive. Of course, Juan Martin Lucero and Gustavo Bou are still set to miss two or three more weeks, but Ignacio Malcorra is back and ready to play.
Tigres UANL is the current Liga MX champions and have virtually the same team that lifted that Apertura 2017 title.
Ricardo Ferretti has created a dynasty in San Nicolas de los Garza as Tigres UANL has appeared in five Liga MX finals since 2014. Los Felinos are undefeated in their last five games and are inclusively on a three-game winning streak. The team is always praised for its powerful offense, but in these last three games, Tigres has only conceded a goal. The defense has plenty of experience with players like Juninho, Hugo Ayala, and Jorge Torres Nilo. One player that will not be available in the back line will be Luis Alfonso Rodriguez, who is set to miss about two more weeks due to an injury. The blow is not as harsh as Club Tijuana’s absences in the attack, but could play a factor in this match as well. The highlight of this Nuevo Leon side is the offense, with explosive and exciting players like Andre-Pierre Gignac, Ismael Sosa, Enner Valencia, and Eduardo Vargas. It is widely considered one of the best in the Liga MX and could trouble the Xolos in this encounter. The home-field advantage could prove to be one of the most significant factors in this game as the Estadio Universitario has proven to be a fortress over the past few years. Tigres UANL is undefeated in its last 16 regular season home games dating back to the Apertura 2016 competition. Everything is going against the Xolos in this match as they will be the underdogs heading into this clash.
Players to Watch
Gignac has arguably been the best Liga MX player over the past few seasons and one of the vital pieces to this Tigres UANL dynasty. The Frenchman is a complete striker, and among all his impressive attributes, the one that stands out is his clinical finishing ability. This season, a lot of his goals have come from crosses inside of the box, as his heading ability is also one of his key attributes. The 31-year-old has seven goals so far and will be looking to add to that tally against the Aztec Canines. Pablo Aguilar and the Xolos’ defense will need to mark Gignac closely as he will try to get the ball past Gibran Lajud.
In Week 9 of the Clausura 2018, Club Tijuana pulled off an impressive 0-0 draw against Club America at the Estadio Azteca. The point gained from that match was thanks to the outstanding performance put in by Gibran Lajud and the defense. The Mexican goalkeeper has been one of the Xolos’ best players this season and will need to put in a stellar performance to get anything out of this match.
This will be one of the toughest games for the Xoloitzcuintles in the regular season and it is hard to imagine that the team will come away with any points from this game. The border city side has struggled massively to produce any offense away from home, which makes this an even more arduous task. EVT predicts a 2-0 win for Tigres UANL as Club Tijuana will be facing one of the best teams.