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Pumas UNAM hosts Club América in prime semifinal matchup

Alejandro Arribas Pumas UNAM vs Club América Betting Odds Preview Liga MX soccer semifinals Mexico

For the second time in two seasons, Pumas UNAM and Club América face off in the Liguilla, as the Universitarios host Las Águilas on Thursday night in the first leg of their 2018 Liga MX Apertura semifinals.

Pumas UNAM has been one of the surprise teams of the tournament and will look to continue to keep things rolling against a Club América team that finished just narrowly above them in the league table during the regular season.

For this match, Pumas arrives after taking down Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals, while Club América survived a late scare to eliminate Toluca 5-4 on aggregate.

  • Club América has gone 13 straight Liga MX games without a defeat (last losing in Week 6 of the regular season).
  • Pumas UNAM has earned just one win in its last five Liga MX home matches.
  • Five of Pumas UNAM’s last six home games have hit the OVER.

Pumas UNAM vs Club América Game Center

Classic Miguel Herrera

Historically, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to these two teams, but perhaps the stat that has been the most relevant during the last few tournaments involves Club América coach Miguel Herrera. For whatever reason, Miguel Herrera can’t lose against Pumas UNAM, Cruz Azul and Chivas Guadalajara. That’s right, since taking over Las Águilas, Herrera has never lost a “Clásico” or derby with América. Whether it is his tactics or he just knows how to motivate his players ahead of high-pressure encounters, Miguel Herrera always seems to get the best of his biggest rivals.

That said, he did go winless in Club América’s three “clásicos” this season. Las Águilas drew 1-1 with Chivas in the Clásico Nacional, drew 0-0 with Cruz Azul in the Clásico Joven, and drew 2-2 with Pumas UNAM in the Clásico Capitalino.

América has the historical edge in the Liguilla

Speaking of past encounters, this will be the sixth time in history that Pumas UNAM and Club América clash in a Liga MX Liguilla. Unsurprisingly, Las Águilas hold a healthy dominance over the Universitarios in playoff encounters. Out of the five times these two teams have met in the Liguilla, Club América has eliminated Pumas UNAM on four occasions.

In total, América’s overall record over Pumas is 12 wins, five draws and only four defeats.

The last time these two teams met in a Liguilla was in last season’s quarterfinals. Club América ended up winning that tie 6-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 4-2 and the second leg 2-1.

Neither team lacking for firepower

As the regular-season meeting between these two teams showed, there is no shortage of goals in the Clásico Capitaliano. Dating back to 2015, Pumas UNAM and Club América have faced each other 10 times, and the final score hit the OVER in eight of those games. In fact, across those 10 matches, the Clásico Capitaliano has averaged a total of 3.2 goals per game.

This meeting will also put together two of the three best Liga MX offenses of the 2018 Liga MX Apertura. Club América finished the regular season as the highest-scoring team in the league with 33 goals while Pumas UNAM was third with 29.

Pumas and América also showed their firepower in the quarterfinals. In the combined four matches Pumas and América participated in, all four hit the OVER. In the case of América, they scored five goals in the quarterfinals, while Pumas UNAM scored four.

My pick...

This match is primed to be one of the more memorable Liga MX matches of all season. In addition to being a heated rivalry, stylistically both teams are very similar in the way they attack. I think we can expect goals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this match ends leveled after the first 90 minutes.