Monarcas Morelia Vs. Pumas UNAM 2011: Probable Lineups and Key Players

With the big final between the Morelia Monarchs of Michoacan and Pumas of the megalopolis that is Mexico City  just hours away, what better time to take a look at the likely lineups for both teams, players to watch out for, and the stats of both managers.

Morelia (Probable) 4-4-1-1: F. Vilar (GK), A. Aldrete (LB), J. Huiqui (CB), A. Garcia (CB), E. Perez (RB), J. Rojas (LM), E. Hernandez (RM), J. Gastelum (CM), A. Leao (CM), M. Perez (AM), R. Marquez (F)

Pumas (Probable) 3-5-2: A. Palacios (GK), L.Fuentes (CB), D.Veron (CB), M.A. Palacios (CB), D. Cabrera (DM), I. Castro (DM), E. Velarde (LWB), J. Cortes (RWB), F. Palencia (AM), M. Bravo (F), D. Lopez (F)

Players to look out for:

MORELIA:

Elias Hernandez: The 23-year-old Morelia native will be keen for a big performance both to bring home the cup for his hometown team and to force his way into the national team squad. A good dribbler, fast and with an eye for goal, this could just be Hernandez's big chance.

Joao Rojas: The Ecuadorian, 21, is speedy and has the ability to hurt teams. Playing on the opposite flank to Hernandez the two of them provide width for Morelia. Rojas, in particular, was the spark when the Michoacan team beat Club America in the quarter finals. Has something of the Antonio Valencia about him.

Rafael Marquez: No, not that Rafa Marquez. This one has the nickname "The Unknown Marquez," is 29, plays for Morelia and is on form. Although he has flopped for other clubs, striker Marquez has 49 goals in 133 games for Morelia in his two spells at the club. Marquez also made his debut for a team called Pumas and would surely like to grab a couple of goals against them.His goals could be key to Morelia´s chances.

PUMAS:

A. Palacios: The goalkeeping half of the Pumas´ famous twins (the Pikolines). Antonio made a huge error against Chivas in the Estadio Omnilife but made up for it with a stirling performance in the second leg when Chivas were piling on pressure. Another big performance is required from the 30-year-old who doesn´t have that much first team experience.

Francisco Palencia: The Ryan Giggs of the Mexican league, Palencia just keeps going on and on. Famous for his long, pony-tailed hair, the 38-year-old will play just behind the strikers. On a good day he can control a game and pop up with a goal. His experience could be a vital factor.

Israel Castro: The 30-year-old is always there or thereabouts when it comes to picking the national team squad but there is no doubting his role for Pumas. The holding midfield debuted for Pumas and has played for them ever since. Will be key in breaking up Morelia´s forward surges and will be needed to guide fellow central midfielder David Cabrera through what is likely to be a nerve-racking two games. 

Managers:

MORELIA:

Tomas Boy

Seasons in management: 20 (10 years approx)

Liguillas: 7

Semifinals: 4

PUMAS

Guillermo Vazquez

Seasons: 2

Games managed: 40

Liguillas: 2

Semifinals: 2

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