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MATCHES
 
 
Once this weekend’s fixtures are complete there will only be five games remaining in the regular season of the 2015 Apertura. Despite the end of the campaign looming large, very little is decided in the table. Just five points separate America in fifth with Tijuana in 13th, and all of those sides will be confident of ending the season in good form and qualifying for the playoffs.
Liguilla competition heats up as Apertura enters the home straight
10/02/2015
 
Pumas vs Chivas is one of the best showdowns of this Liga MX's weekend

By Dan Price


Once this weekend’s fixtures are complete there will only be five games remaining in the regular season of the 2015 Apertura.


Despite the end of the campaign looming large, very little is decided in the table. Just five points separate America in fifth with Tijuana in 13th, and all of those sides will be confident of ending the season in good form and qualifying for the playoffs.

Pumas UNAM vs Chivas (Sunday, 1pm EDT)

Pumas will host Chivas at home in Week 12 of the Apertura tournament in Liga MX

Both Pumas and Chivas have surprised fans this season. Very few people thought Pumas would be second in the table at this stage in the campaign, while Chivas were looking like relegation fodder in the opening weeks but have improved immeasurably.


Make no mistake, Pumas deserve their position. After losing their opening two matches, they’ve lost just once more all season. They’ve beaten both Santos Laguna and Tigres UANL, and have thrashed playoff-chasing Atlas.


They now enter the most difficult stage of the season, playing Chivas, America, leaders Leon, and last season’s runners-up Queretaro in their final six games.


Chivas were in turmoil less than a month ago, but new boss Matias Almeyda has now won his last four in all competitions. A win would leave them inside the top eight at the end of the weekend.


Prediction: Pumas 2-1 Chivas

Santos Laguna vs Toluca (Saturday, 8pm EDT)

Toluca will travel to Torreon to take on Santos

The reigning champions Santos Laguna have had a season to forget. After emerging as surprise winners from the Clausura, they spent most of this campaign stuck on the bottom of the table.


Their form has slightly improved recently – they’ve now only lost one of their last four – but they’re still stuck in a rut. Hopes of defending their title in the Liguilla have all-but vanished.


Toluca have been steadily rising up through the standings in recent weeks. They’ve been largely unheralded, but have some of the best form in the division and have only lost once in their last seven league outings.


They now sit third, level with Pumas and two points behind Leon. They could finish the weekend on top of the pile if other results go their way.


Prediction: Santos Laguna 0-3 Toluca

America vs Chiapas (Saturday, 6pm EDT)

Club America will take on Jaguares in Liga MX's week 12

America have been in serious decline in recent weeks, once again calling into question the job of boss Ignacio Ambriz.


They’ve lost three of their last four – a run that started when they picked up two red cards in a home defeat against Tigres. It’s seen them slump to fifth in table, and a loss this weekend could leave them outside the top eight for the first time this season.


They’ll be up against a Chiapas side who have found a certain resilience in recent weeks. Los Jaguares have only lost one of their last six in the league, beating leaders Leon 6-2 and drawing with high-flying Toluca in the process. It’s seen them move up to eighth.


They still need to pick up more wins – they’ve drawn their last three – but the game will not an easy three points for the hosts.


Prediction: America 2-2 Chiapas

 
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