Match: Tigres UANL vs. Atlas
Date: Saturday, September 1st
Time: 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central, 5:00 PM Pacific, 1:00 AM UTC
Venue: Estdaio Universitario “El Volcan” (San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León)
At the start of the season, Tigres was on the tip of every analyst and fan’s tongue when it came to talking about potential Liga MX title contenders. We’re nearly halfway through the 2018 Apertura season and many of those same analysts and fans have been left to eat their words. The star studded Tigres squad that was expected to dominate Liga MX opposition week in and week out isn’t doing anything that closely resembles dominating opposition.
Through their last five matches, los Felinos have only managed to take home all three points from a single match. During that same time span the squad from la Sultana del Norte has lost three matches and most recently struggled to a controversial draw against Necaxa. At no point has Tuca Ferretti’s super powered team come anywhere close to looking like a title contending team failing to score multiple goals in all but one of their last five games.
However, despite their poor run of form over the last five matches los Felinos are still very much in the hunt for a place in the the liguilla. In fact, Tigres are currently sitting in 9th place on 10 points just outside of a liguilla spot thanks to their controversial defeat against Toluca earlier in the season.
Atlas comes into Saturday night’s matchup in El Volcan amidst the longest goalless streak in Liga MX history. Everything that could go wrong for los Zorros offensively has gone wrong. It’s almost as if a witch doctor has managed to put a curse of the squad from Guadalajara. Atlas has done everything but put the ball into the back of the net and get onto the scoreboard. They've managed to hit the post an agonizingly high amount of times and have had goals called back by some questionable refereeing decisions.
The long goalscoring drought has left Atlas dead last in the Liga MX table on just two points. Los Zorros are in desperate need of a victory to try and turn around their season. With every passing week at the bottom of the table, Atlas creeps further and further down on the relegation table. What looked like a squad in absolutely no danger of being relegated at the start of the 2018 Apertura season, now looks like a team in desperate need of a victory to stop their slide down towards the bottom of the relegation table.
Unfortunately for Atlas, they will be needing to get a victory in one of the most difficult venues for visiting teams. Tigres had a 29-match winning streak at home before their controversial match against Toluca that brought their impressive home winning streak to an end. It will be extremely difficult for los Zorros to get anything from this match.
If Tigres is able to get Andre Pierre-Gignac and their other dangerous attacking players involved in the match they should have no problem getting a victory over an Atlas side that just can't seem to score. However, this will require the midfielders to be much more affective with their passing than they have been in recent games. Should Pizarro and Juninho or Carioca have a good game, look for Tigres to run away with this match.