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Match Preview: Puebla vs Chivas

The Clausura 2021 season starts with a clash between 2 teams that made the past Liguilla.

Necaxa v Chivas - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Omar Martinez Martinez/Getty Images

Puebla and Chivas will open the Clausura 2021 as they meet in Puebla. Puebla was the surprise team of the Liguilla after barely making it at 12th but then eliminating Monterrey and beating Leon in the first leg before being eliminated. They will start the season after getting a new coach and having a couple of changes. Meanwhile Chivas will hope to repeat their successful Apertura 2020 where they went to the Semifinals but they will do so after not getting any additions that weren’t loan returns.

Puebla’s season under Juan Reynoso wasn’t as great as many expected. Still because of the fact that they expanded the Liguilla to a Repechaje and the top 12 teams qualified, they were always close and in the final game they clinched the final spot, a spot that would have eliminated them any other season. Then, in the Repechaje they surprised everybody by getting an away tie against current champions Monterrey and then defeating them in the PK shootout. Puebla went on to the Quarterfinals when once again they surprised everybody by defeating Leon 2-1 in the first leg. Leon was the heavy favorite and had only lost 1 game in the season (against Cruz Azul) so nobody expected that. Unfortunately for Puebla, it was a two-legged series and in Leon they were eliminated as Leon went on to win the Liga MX title. After a great season, a lot of moves happened to the surprise of many. Coach Juan Reynoso left as did key players like Goalkeeper Nicolas Vikonis, who joined Mazatlan FC. New Coach Nicolas Larcamon will be making his debut in Liga MX on Friday and will need to quiet critics who say his resume isn’t the greatest and he’s too young at only 36. A lot of uncertainty surrounds him as well as Puebla coming into this season.

Chivas season was overall a roller coaster but in the end it was very positive. Chivas went to the Liguilla and eliminated their classic rival America before going out in the Semifinals against eventual champions Leon. They will now face Puebla as fans expect the team to improve but it will be a tough hurdle. After the season ended with an off the field scandal that had them getting rid of a couple of players, many fans expect signings to boost the team. Yet all their additions were just loan returns and Chivas didn’t go out for a single player. While Cesar Huerta and Alejandro Mayorga were the two big loan returns after great spells in Mazatlan and Pumas respectively, they will need to show that level in Chivas and neither did so before. Huerta is expected to be the better player and help on the offense, where Chivas suffered somewhat. Chivas were favored coming in but they just received news that they will be without top striker Jose Juan Macias, who just tested positive for COVID 19. They already had Isaac Brizuela out from injury as well as Alexis Vega being doubtful with a slight knock. Thus while Chivas is expected to have a better season than Puebla, things might be even for Friday’s opening Liga MX match.