Game: Club Deportivo Tiburones Rojos de la Veracruz vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Sunday, April 1st
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente (Veracruz, Ver.)
Referees: REF: Jorge Isaac Rojas Castillo, AR1: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, AR2: Enríque Isaac Bustos Díaz, 4TH: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto
All-time record: In Liga MX play, the series is knotted with the teams each having three wins, three losses, and three draws when playing against one another. When you factor in play in Ascenso MX, Tijuana holds the edge of having won six, drawn four, and lost five to Tiburones Rojos.
The 2018 Liga MX Clausura is in the home stretch, and the last match of Week 13 could have the most impact down the line. Club Tijuana (4W 5D 3L) was in eighth place at the start of the week, desperately clinging on to the final spot in the Liguilla. They’ll head down to Veracruz to face off against Tiburones Rojos (3W 3D 6L), who are desperate for points to stave off being relegated to Ascenso MX.
Tijuana is as healthy as they’ve been in months, as the border dogs could see the return of Gustavo “Pantera” Bou and Juan Lucero to the lineup. Bou is reported to have traveled to Veracruz with the team, while Lucero got minutes in the friendly against Club América in San Diego last week.
They will need to cope with the absence of defensive midfielder Damián Musto, as Musto picked up a red card in the last match out against Monarcas Morelia (6W 2D 4L). Alejandro Guido would be the most likely option to fill in for Musto if Xolos stay in manager Diego Cocca’s preferred formation.
Veracruz has struggled mightily and is still below Lobos BUAP (2W 3D 7L) in the relegation table, although if both Tiburones and Lobos lose out Veracruz would be safe. Veracruz has won only once in their last five Liga MX matches, however they did beat Atlas (2W 1D 9L) by a 3-1 scoreline their last time out.
Diego Chávez is Tiburones Rojo’s leading scorer with three goals, however Veracruz as a team has only scored eight total in twelve games. This doesn’t bode well going up against a Xolos team that has only allowed eight goals in those same twelve games. If Veracruz is going to have any shot at getting a point, they’ll need to get someone to step up and help with the scoring.
This could however be just the game Veracruz needed. They’ve had two weeks to study up on Tijuana, rest players, and try and steel themselves for a push to remain in Liga MX. Tijuana on the other hand needs the points if they’re to return to the Liguilla. They’ll finally have most of their best eleven on the field and should look to fine tune things before facing stiffer competition in the remaining weeks.