The Liga MX leader looks to defend its crown against a Loboa BUAP team on a surprising hot streak.
Last tournament should've seen Loboa BUAP relegated, but after a strange rule tweak and a fine paid to the league, the team is back in the first divison. They're making the most of it. After a slow start, Lobos are undefeated in their last six matches - more than Cruz Azul can say despite being on top of the table.
This match may be one that looks lopsided, but after the recent surge from Lobos it should be much more exciting than it looked a month ago.
|Game||Cruz Azul vs Lobos BUAP|
|Date||Saturday, November 10|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States, the game can b watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Univision Deportes Network||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Cruz Azul players|
|Goalkeepers||Corona, Allison, Pelaez|
|Defenders||Aguilar, Dominguez, Lichnovsky, Flores, Aldrete, Sanchez, Maduena, Silva|
|Midfielders||Salas, Montoya, Hernandez, Mendez, Dominguez, Mena, Baca, Marcone, Alvarado|
|Forwards||Cauteruccio, Caraglio, Renteria, Zuniga|
Left back Adrian Aldrete will miss the match after seeing a late red card last week against Pumas. Forward Milton Caraglio has been dealing with a muscle issue and trained apart from the rest of the team this week. He's unlikely to be available Saturday.
Right back Gerry Flores continues to cope with an injury, while Misael Dominguez is with the Mexico U-20 team.
Potential Cruz Azul XI: Corona; Maduena, Aguilar, Lichnovsky, Dominguez; Salas, Marcone, Baca; Mendez, Cauteruccio, Hernandez
|Position||Lobos BUAP players|
|Goalkeepers||A. Rodriguez, Duarte, Canales|
|Defenders||Cercado, F. Rodriguez, Esquivel, Crisanto, Rojas, Orozco, Cruz, Godinez, J. Gonzalez, Olascoaga|
|Midfielders||Ibarra, A. Gonzalez, Cortez, Tejeda, Rabello, Sierra, Zarate, Torres, Chirinos|
|Forwards||Jimenez, Lainez, Da Silva, Ramos, Kazim Richards|
Mauro Lainez is suspended for this match. He was shown a second yellow card for taking off his shirt during a celebration last week and will be unavailable to Paco Palencia this weekend.
Potential Lobos BUAP XI: Rodriguez; Crisanto, Orozco, Maza Rodriguez, Cruz; Chirinos, Sierra, Gonzalez, Rabello; Ramos, Kazim Richards
Several weeks ago this looked like an academic matchup. Cruz Azul is one of the top teams in the league this tournament, with Pedro Caixinha engineering a turnaround that has the Mexico City giant down as one of the title favorites. Last week, his side lifted Copa MX and now has its sights set on the double after going to the top of the league with a 2-1 win over Pumas.
Lobos BUAP, on the other hand, was stuck near the bottom of the table just months after its fate should have been sealed only for the club to be rescued from the second division by bureaucracy. Suddenly, though, Paco Palencia has the team turning around. Lobos have avoided defeat in their last six, and while the postseason still looks like a distant dream there is plenty of momentum to build on heading into next year.
A big part of the turnaround has been Leonardo Ramos. The Argentine forward scored in six consecutive matches for the club. That streak was snapped last week but a double from Colin Kazim-Richards and a third from Mauro Lainez saw the club top Tijuana, 3-1.
Finding the back of the net will be more difficult Saturday, though. Despite Cruz Azul having its right back injured and left back suspended, the defense is still the best in the country. In addition to center-back pairing Pablo Aguilar and Julio Dominguez, Igor Lichnovsky has stepped in and showed the same form that made him one of the league's top defenders with Necaxa. He'll slot back into the starting XI this weekend, with Domiguez likely to push out to the left for the suspended Aldrete.
That may bring into question the attacking formation, with Aldrete frequently getting forward and putting in crosses and Dominguez more likely to play in a more conservative way. Roberto Alvarado, the promising 20-year-old who has come off the bench in recent weeks, could get back into the starting lineup if Caixinha wants more attacking zip. Or he could stick with his 4-3-3 and hope the attack can go after a Lobos defense that lacks speed at its core with veteran center backs Maza Rodriguez and Michael Orozco susceptible to being beaten when the ball stays on the ground.
Either way, it should be fascinating to watch this contest, which should be much better than we thought it would be a few weeks ago and much closer than the oddsmakers predict.