Pumas and Necaxa will battle it out on Sunday, with scrambling to get back into the Liguilla race. For Pumas, it might be a chance for some sweet revenge as they face a Necaxa team that eliminated them from the Copa MX just a few weeks ago. Necaxa, on the other hand, has shown a lot of promise at times and have some key away victories, but as of right now, their record has them out of Liguilla contention.
Pumas had one of the best starts of the season, but that is all just a memory now. Since losing on Valentine’s day at home to Veracruz, they have just gotten 2 points out of 18 possible. To make matters worse, they are coming from an absolutely heartbreaking tie. Poised to get their first win since February 9 and against their rival Cruz Azul, they conceded an equalizer in the final minute of play with an Enzo Roco corner kick.
The result came just days after the aforementioned defeat to Necaxa in the Copa MX. Under normal circumstances it shouldn’t have been a surprising result, but the defeat came at home and with Necaxa being down a man for the majority of the game. The elimination in Copa MX was a total letdown and had the fans asking for a change. A win away at Cruz Azul might have changed things, but now the pressure is on coach David Patiño, who has been the primary scapegoat for the decline of the team.
Necaxa is one spot below Pumas. While never reaching Pumas’ early heights, they have been very consistant and have been a good team away from home, crushing Leon 4-0 and going to Mexico City and beating Cruz Azul. They already won at Pumas once, but with their Copa MX game being midweek, Necaxa might be shifting their attention towards their Semifinal matchup against Santos Laguna. That said, Necaxa has been a solid defensive team, and teams like that have caused Pumas plenty of trouble this season.
Pumas needs to bounce back to have any chance at the Liguilla. Unlike Necaxa, they have no other tournament to play. Necaxa meanwhile has less pressure and more experience coach at the helm. They will look to counter Pumas desperation and might be favored to pull it off. It also not clear what Pumas will do with their star player Nico Castillo, who played 90 minutes in Chile’s game in Denmark. Pumas once again looks to be at a disadvantage in a home game, and Necaxa already showed they can take that opportunity and might go away with their third win in Mexico City in 2018.
Date: Sunday, April 1
Time: 10:00am Pacific, 12:00pm Central, 1:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Olimpico Universitario, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Univision (US - Spanish), Univision Deportes Network (US- Spanish), UnivisionTDN (Mexico)