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The Liga MX semi-finals kick off on Thursday night, as Chivas travel to Santos Laguna and Queretaro visit Pachuca. The four teams remaining entered the Liguilla as the bottom four seeds, but a stunning set of results at the weekend saw Tigres, America, Atlas, and Veracruz all eliminated – meaning one of the four will be crowned as champions in week and a half’s time.
Liga MX semi-finals preview – Chivas on the brink of final berth
05/20/2015
 
Chivas players celebrate win against Atlas in the Liga MX quarter-finals

By Dan Price


The Liga MX semi-finals kick off on Thursday night, as Chivas travel to Santos Laguna and Queretaro visit Pachuca.


The four teams remaining entered the Liguilla as the bottom four seeds, but a stunning set of results at the weekend saw Tigres, America, Atlas, and Veracruz all eliminated – meaning one of the four will be crowned as champions in week and a half’s time.

Santos Laguna vs Chivas (Thursday, 11pm ET)

Santos vs Chivas

Santos Laguna beat Tigres UANL in the quarter final to set up this tie. After drawing 1-1 at home in the first leg they went on to record a 1-0 win in El Volcan thanks to a goal midway through the second half by Djanny.


Chivas also went into their second leg against Atlas on the back of a first leg draw. The 0-0 in the Estadio Omnilife was much-criticized as neither side showed much desire to win the game, but a comprehensive 4-1 win at the Estadio Jalisco in the second leg silenced many critics.


Despite the impressive on-field performances of Chivas’ hat-trick hero Marco Fabian and his teammates, the game was marred by ugly scenes in the stands. A number of Atlas supporters entered the pitch after Omar Bravo’s 54th minute goal, attacking the Atlas players and forcing a twenty minute suspension in play.


Santos Laguna could be without Oswaldo Alanis. He failed to make the bench against Chivas due to discomfort in his back, and will face a late fitness test. Chivas could be without Isaac Brizuela, who is also carrying a knock.


Santos will need to be at their best defensively if they are to progress – they’ve only kept three clean sheets in their last twelve games, although one of those came in the last game against Tigres.


Chivas will be looking for Marco Fabian to continue his own rich vein of form. He has bagged four goals in his last three games, and will be confident of maintaining his goal-scoring streak against the demonstrably poor Santos back line.


Prediction: Santos Laguna 2-1 Chivas

Pachuca vs Queretaro (Thursday, 9:05pm ET)

Pachuca vs Queretaro

There can be no denying that Pachuca vs Queretaro is the less glamorous of the two semi-finals, though the fact that Brazilian legend Ronaldinho is just four games from a Liga MX title is making headlines around the world.


Pachuca earned their place in the semis in dramatic fashion, beating America 4-3 in the Azteca and 7-5 on aggregate to book their place. With just three minutes of the second leg remaining they were heading out, but a remarkable turnaround saw them progress.


Queretaro beat Veracruz 4-3 on aggregate, with Ronaldinho’s 83rd minute goal in the second leg proving to be decisive.


Pachuca are suspension and injury free and have a full squad to choose from, while Queretaro will be without William who was taken off with a knock at the weekend.


The host’s win over America means they go into this game having won three consecutive games for the first time all year, while Queretaro are on an equally fine run of form – winning seven of their last nine in all competitions.


Prediction: Pachuca 3-0 Queretaro

 
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