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Match preview: Tigres UANL vs. Club Tijuana

Both teams will look to get back on track after sub-par performances in the Concacaf Champions League.

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Tigres UANL v Atlas - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Game: Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente

Date: Saturday, March 10th

Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Universitario (San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L.)

Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo Gonzalez, AR1: José Alfredo López Cruz, AR2: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe

Television: United States - Univision, ESPN Deportes, Univision Deportes; Mexico - TDN, Canal 5 Televisa, Sky HD, SKY Planeta Fútbol

Streaming: Fanatiz, fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling (Free trial + monthly subscription); Univision NOW, Watch ESPN

All-time record: Tijuana has defeated Tigres three times, lost seven times, and the clubs have drawn five times in Liga MX play. Tigres have won the last three matches by a combined score of 5-0.

Tijuana v Puebla - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
Of the players in this photo, only Luis Chávez is 100% healthy.
Photo by David Garrido/Getty Images

After a disastrous outing in the Concacaf Champions League, Club Tijuana (4W 4D 2L) heads to the historic El Volcán to face off against Tigres UANL (5W 3D 2L). Tijuana was defeated at home by the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday by a 2-0 score, thanks in part to a stellar performance by RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles. On any other night against any other goalkeeper, the story would have been different.

Tijuana will need to focus on the moment though and not worry about the past or future matches against the Red Bulls. Xolos have started to break out of their offensive funk, finally getting into double-digits in goals scored thanks to a 3-1 win over Lobos BUAP (2W 2D 6L) last week at Estadio Caliente. They’re in for a challenge against Tigres, who have allowed just nine goals in ten matches.

Tijuana is waiting for some key offensive personnel to get healthy. Gustavo “Pantera” Bou has been out since getting injured in the February 17th match against Pumas. Juan Martín Lucero is also out injured, not seeing any action since the February 24th Concacaf Champions League Match against Motagua. Ignacio “Nacho” Malcorra is slowly making his return, coming on in stoppage time against New York on Tuesday. They’ll also be without Omar Mendoza, who picked up a one game suspension for getting his fifth yellow card against Lobos BUAP.

Tigres UANL v Morelia - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX
Tigres’ André-Pierre Gignac has quietly amassed seven goals in Liga MX play, second only behind Santos Laguna’s Djaniny Tavares.
Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Tigres are also coming off a disappointing performance in the Concacaf Champions League, going down 2-1 to reigning Major League Soccer champions Toronto FC in Canada on Wednesday. Manager Tuca Ferretti however has told the Mexican press that his priority is winning Liga MX, which explains his mood after Wednesday’s match.

Then again, it’s foolish to try and get into Ferretti’s head. He’s a master of mind games and Diego Cocca and the Xolos staff would be best served concentrating on what they know. Tigres will play a quick style of play relying on short passes and (usually) utilizing overlapping runs on the outside. Look for André-Pierre Gignac to get the ball on the left wing and cut back inside to unleash a right-footed shot back against the grain. Lucas Zeleráyan will look to get lost in the central midfield to somehow emerge with the ball to beat the onside trap either in alone on goal or with Enner Valencia or Jesús Dueñas close by.

That’s the beauty of Tigres - you know what they’re going to do to you, yet you’re powerless to stop it from happening because their execution is flawless. Xolos are capable of matching that with flawlessly executed defense, however it’ll be a tough ask in the atmosphere that is El Volcán.