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Match preview: Pumas vs Pachuca

Pumas will return to action at home as they face a key match against Pachuca.

Atletico San Luis v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas and Pachuca face each other in the return of the last season’s quarterfinal matchup. Both Pumas and Pachuca are far from last season’s form, as both are battling to even get to the repechaje. Pumas will return from the international break to host a 12:00 PM match in Ciudad Universitario hoping to get an advantage as they try to improve from their struggles in the final third of the season. Pachuca meanwhile hope to continue the three game winning streak that moved them from last place to twelfth, just inside the repechaje zone.

Pumas has had a disappointing season so far. After finishing in second place last season and getting all the way to the final, Pumas has struggled all season and yet they sit one point away from a possible repechaje berth even when they currently are at fifteenth. Thus every game left of the season will be a battle, as the team needs every point it can get. The FIFA break might help the team as they return home and face a Pachuca side that has also struggled, and although they are in the repechaje zone at twelfth, they only have one point more than Pumas. Pumas will need to improve, and although they won their last game away to San Luis, it was a poor performance in which they benefited from referee mistakes and incredible luck. Pumas might get a boost from the return of national team players like Alfredo Talavera and U23 Johan Vasquez, who stood out in that tournament. But Pumas will have it tough as Pachuca has improved more than Pumas. Pachuca has already shown good performances like in that quarterfinal return leg, where they were the better side and unlucky not to score a goal in that match.

Pachuca’s season has started to turn around after a terrible start. The team is in the middle of a three game winning streak, which are the only three wins the team has so far. Pachuca has finally found some goals in what was the big Achilles heel so far. Pachuca failed to score a goal in their quarterfinal matchup against Pumas and although they have ten goals scored in the season, seven of them came in their last four matchups after only scoring three times in their first eight games. Their matchup with Pumas will be key for their season. While they come in currently at twelfth and thus in the repechaje zone. The only have 13 points while four teams sit behind them at 12 points, including Pumas. A loss might have them falling back and with so few games left and with a strong caliber of rivals including teams like Monterrey and Santos.

Pumas and Pachuca face a game that will be key to both of their seasons. Pumas could be slightly favored as they are at home under tough conditions that generally have teams suffering but it hasn’t been the case so far this season. Pachuca meanwhile is the team that has improved the most although they only lead Pumas by a point. It shouldn’t be surprise as both sides are so even, that they game might end up as a tie to the detriment of both teams’ chances.