Tigres took one giant step toward the Liga MX Apertura final with a 1-0 win at Club America on Wednesday, and will look to finish the job on Saturday at home.
Tuca Ferretti's side won the Liguilla semifinal first leg at the Estadio Azteca through a Juninho penalty, and will now be heavily favored to advance to the final.
Club America will enter the second leg at the Estadio Universitario needing to accomplish something no other team has all season: beating Tigres at their home stadium.
|Game||Tigres vs America|
|Date||Saturday, December 2|
|Time||8:00 p.m. ET|
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SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Guzman, Palos, Fernandez, Ortega|
|Defenders||Kolodziejczak, Ayala, Juninho, Meza, Torres, Acosta, Jimenez, Estrada, Rodriguez|
|Midfielders||Carioca, Duenas, J. Torres, Vasquez, R. Torres, Zelarayan, Aquino, Quiñones, Alvarez, Sosa, Damm|
|Forwards||Valencia, Gignac, Vargas|
After scoring the winner from the spot in the first leg, Juninho is in doubt for the second leg with a right adductor muscle injury.
Francisco Meza, who replaced Juninho in the first leg, is the likely candidate to start in his place. Otherwise, Ferreti will likely stick with the same formula that has his side on the brink of another final.
Potential starting XI: Guzman; Rodriguez, Ayala, Meza, Torres Nilo; Duenas, Carioca; Vargas, Gignac, Valencia.
|Goalkeepers||Marchesin, Pineda, Leon, Jimenez|
|Defenders||Valdez, Aguilar, Alvarez, Cedillo, Samudio, Vargas, Aguilar, Buron|
|Midfielders||Rodriguez, Uribe, Amador, Paredes, Orrantia, Rosel, Torres, Da Silva, Arce, Dominguez, Lainez, Ibarra, Perez|
|Forwards||Romero, Quintero, Peralta, Diaz, Marin|
Miguel Herrera could look to shake up his lineup with his side yet to find a goal in three Liguilla matches thus far.
That could mean a start for 17-year-old Diego Lainez after the teenager was brought on as a substitute in the first leg.
Potential starting XI: Marchesin; Valdez, Vargas, Alvarez; Aguilar, Lainez, Uribe, Rodriguez, Samudio; Peralta, Ibarra.
So far in the Liguilla, Club America has failed to score a single goal in three full matches, with a scoreless streak now at 279 minutes and counting. That streak will have to end Saturday if Miguel Herrera's side wants to advance to the Liga MX final.
Third-seeded America got past Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals by virtue of its better regular-season finish breaking the tie following a pair of 0-0 draws, and the Aguilas' attack is still yet to score after Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Tigres in the first leg of the semifinal.
Though Herrera's men can feel slightly aggrieved by the penalty decision for Tigres' goal in the first leg, they can have no complaints with the ultimate result after being outshot 18-8 in the contest and failing to put a single shot on target.
Second-seeded Tigres will feel confident heading home to the Estadio Universitario needing just a draw to advance to the final having won seven and drawn one of its eight home fixtures during the Apertura.
Though Tigres have been up and down this season, they appear to have found a better rhythm since switching to a back four midway through the campaign and are poised to advance to their fourth final in the last five tournaments – a huge achievement for Ferretti.
This tournament, though, Tigres could very well be facing crosstown rival Monterrey in the final after Antonio Mohamed's side defeated Morelia 1-0 in their semifinal first leg.
A first-ever Clasico Regio final would be a banner occasion for the city of Monterrey, and it appears to be very close to becoming a reality.