The Estadio Azteca of Mexico City takes center stage this Liga MX weekend as Club America play host to Chivas de Guadalajara in another edition of the Súper Clásico.
Here is what to watch for in one of the most anticipated games of the Liga MX calendar year.
What to watch for:
Revenge for Chivas? - The Rebaño’s elimination to Club America in last season’s quarterfinals was punishment to Chivas fans. To be eliminated from any Liguilla is bad, but to lose to your hated rivals is just brutal. Las Aguilas planned that tie to perfection, and once they got the upper hand, Chivas were complete absentees from the contest.
Three months later, the Estadio Azteca hosts its first Súper Clásico since that infamous quarterfinal tie, and sweet revenge will undoubtedly be on Chivas player’s minds. The Rebaño is to be sorely tested, but on the eve of one of their biggest games of the season, you feel Chivas will have an extra motivation to get the three points at the Estadio Azteca, specially considering Club America will be celebrating their Centenary year.
Sambu time? - Much has been said of Rubens Sambueza’s successful appeal after the Club America midfielder had his red card versus Puebla rescinded just in time for the Súper Clásico. On the face of it, it is hard not to think of this decision as controversial, partly because America has the odd reputation of being the team everyone thinks the league loves to help. But truth be told, Sambueza hasn’t had the best of starts this season. Sambu has not scored a single goal and has a less-than-stellar record of just one assist this Apertura.
Sambu is so crucial to Ignacio Ambriz’s scheme due to his ability to brilliantly link breaks when America push forward. On his day, he can be the perfect player for Las Aguilas. That said, what better game for Sambu to rediscover his fluency than against a team like Chivas in a game he initially wasn’t going to play in? There is nothing more Chivas fans would hate.
Young “Chelo” Zaldivar - Get ready for a lot of Angel Zaldivar over the next few days. The 22-year-old Chivas forward was a surprise call-up in Juan Carlos Osorio’s 24-man roster for Mexico’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and El Salvador, and he is set to be given the start this weekend against Club America.
Chivas coach Matias Almeyda has had the courage to start the young striker in the past few months and has been fully-committed in the development of Zaldivar. That, of course, should give Zaldivar the confidence to take on anyone, and after some early season criticism, he has responded by scoring three times in his last two games.
Along with Zaldivar, Javier Eduardo “La Chofis” Lopez has also offered the kind of attacking performances to get Chivas fans excited. La Chofis has done just enough to leave Carlos Alberto “Gullit” Peña out of the starting lineup, and he has been the kind of proactive midfielder the Rebaño Sagrado has been searching for.