The biggest game in Mexican football returns. America and Chivas will play the first official edition of the Superclasico in 2020 when they face each other in Estadio Azteca on Saturday. Since the cancellation of the Clausura 2020 because of the COVID-19 emergency happened before the Superclasico was played, this will be the first official match this calendar year, although the teams played each other in the Copa GNP por Mexico preseason tournament in which Chivas won by a 4-3 score. Yet it was a far cry from the last official Superclasico, where America won by a 4-1 score in a game marred by an awful tackle by Antonio Briseño that injured Giovani Dos Santos that badly cut him in one of the worst injuries in recent years.
America is currently sitting at fourth place and two points away from the top spot, and yet many fans aren’t happy with the way the team is playing. Seeing that under coach Miguel Herrera they aren’t playing attractive soccer many fans have clamored for a coaching change, and yet America’s record is solid as they have been among the leaders for most of the season. Still they are coming in with a disappointing result after getting a tie with Toluca at home. They also start a key three game streak in which they play all three clasicos (Chivas, Cruz Azul, and Pumas), starting with the most important although against the team with the worst record. Herrera and America thus have a chance to improve, and doing so against the biggest rivals would be a big boost. Yet a loss will have the opposite effect. It doesn’t help matters that key striker Federico Viñas had to leave the Toluca game with an injury and is in doubt for the game, and Roger Martinez also left the game injured and will miss it. Still America is at home and have the better record, so if their is a favorite, it would be them.
Chivas has had a very inconsistent season. After a good participation in the preseason Copa GNP por Mexico tournament in which they beat America and finished in second place, they had a rough start to the season. Three games without a goal and two losses to start the season ended up with them firing Coach Luis Fernando Tena and hiring Victor Manuel Vucetich. While the team improved and got some results, they still haven’t reached and appropriate level, hampered by off the field problems like constant COVID-19 tests for their players as well as scandals like the suspension of Uriel Antuna and Alexis Vega for going out drinking and partying during the pandemic. Chivas got a key win against Tigres but the last two games have been disappointing, with a home tie against Queretaro and a last minute win against Necaxa, with both teams going down to ten players and yet holding their own against the eleven Chivas players. Two horrible goalkeepeing mistakes by Jose Antonio Rodriguez forced Vucetich to bench him, only for new starting keeper Raul Gudiño to also make a mistake that resulted in goal. Meanwhile star striker Jose Juan Macias has missed two penalty kicks and the rest of the team has lacked on the offensive end (weirdly it was both Vega and Antuna who looked to be better offensively recently than most players). So just as America, Chivas has been struggling and yet they also have a big opportunity to make a statement and a boost that could change the season for them.
America and Chivas is looking to be a very even match. With both teams having good records on paper but not as good in terms of performances, it looks to be a game that should be hard to predict. America under Miguel Herrera has always had the upper hand in Superclasicos, and it looks like they should this time because even when Vucetich is a veteran coach, he doesn’t have much time with the team and has battled to improve in the aspect of their game they had suffered with Tena. While Chivas has improved offensively somewhat, they are still far from a dangerous team. Yet if there is a weak aspect to America, it’s their defense. Since they lost their best defender Bruno Valdez for the rest of the season, nobody has stepped up to replace him. So it looks like Chivas has a prime opportunity to bounce back but if America rises to their level, it will be very tough for them to do so.
Game: Club de Fútbol América S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Deportivo Guadalajara S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, January 6th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Tlalpan, D.F.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Mario Jesús López Carrillo, 4TH: Oscar Mejia Garcia, VAR: Carlos Ayala Cuéllar, AVAR: Angel Monroy Bello
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