Game: Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León vs. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente
Date: Saturday, January 6th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Universitario (San Nicolas de los Garza, N.L.)
Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: Jose De Jesus Baños Caballero, AR2: Jimmy Acosta Montesinos, 4TH: Mario Humberto Vargas Mata, VAR: Diego Montaño Robles, AVAR: Adonai Escobedo González
All-time record: Tigres holds a decided advantage, winning ten to Xolos’ three with the clubs drawing seven times, all in Liga MX play. The last time the clubs met, they tied 0-0 at Estadio Caliente. The last time they played one another at Estadio Universitario was back in July 29, 2018 thanks to an André-Pierre Gignac goal.
Club Tijuana (3W 3D 0L) is the only unbeaten team left in the league, and that might be in jeopardy as they head to Nuevo León to face the Club World Cup runners-up Tigres (2W 1D 2L). Xolos have turned things around from a disastrous campaign last season where they failed to make the repechaje.
This season, they’ve been much better on defense, allowing just four goals in six outings. As important as getting defensive affairs in order has been however, Tijuana is scoring. For contrast, last season they scored 12 goals in 17 games. Through their six games, they’ve scored eight goals. Fidel Martínez has four goals, good enough for third overall in the league.
Tigres has struggled a bit this season, but it’s to be expected. Their primary focus was the Club World Cup, and while they lost to Bayern Munich they put forth a performance to be proud of. They have a game in hand on the rest of the league, which also helps explain why they’re so far down in the table. They lost to Santos (3W 3D 1L) and Cruz Azul (4W 0D 2L), both of whom are expected to make a push in the postseason.
To be fair, there have been problems that have shown through this season. André-Pierre Gignac has just one goal in two appearances so far and as Gignac goes, so goes Tigres. They looked rusty in their first match post-Club World Cup against Cruz Azul, and in their match before heading to Qatar they only managed a 1-1 draw against lowly Necaxa (1W 2D 3L).
This should be an intriguing game. Normally a trip to Monterrey to face Tigres doesn’t end well for Xolos. Their last win there was in 2016 and they’ve lost the four games they’ve played there since. But Tigres hasn’t been the dominating force that we’re used to seeing. This might easily be explained by the Club World Cup, but it also could signify a bit of a slide for the club.