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Liguilla Semifinal preview: Tigres host Toluca, Pumas travel to America
Liguilla Semifinal preview: Tigres host Toluca, Pumas travel to America
12/02/2015
 
Liga MX will celebrate the Apertura 2015 Semifinals this week


By Dan Price


The Liguilla semi-finals are upon us, with the first legs taking place on Thursday evening and the return games taking place on Sunday.


We take a look ahead at the two ties:

America vs Pumas UNAM (Thursday, 8pm ET)

Both games will offer a host of talking points and sub-plots, but Mexico City’s ‘Clásico Capitalino’ between America and Pumas UNAM just about edges Tigres vs Toluca in the interest stakes.


It’s hard to say who goes into the game as favorites; America were underwhelming in the regular season but swept Leon aside in the quarter-final with relative ease, emerging as 5-3 winners over the two games. Pumas, on the other hand, have been hugely impressive since the summer but labored against eighth-place Veracruz in their quarter-final, only advancing thanks to their higher position in the regular season table after a 1-1 aggregate draw.


The two clubs actually faced each other in the quarter-finals of the Liguilla this time last year, with America advancing after 1-1 draw.


America, of course, went on to win the title after overcoming Tigres in the final. It was their twelfth championship and made them the out-right most successful side in the country, moving ahead of Chivas.


A repeat of that final is more-than possible.


Prediction: America 2-1 Pumas UNAM

Tigres UANL vs Toluca (Thursday, 10pm ET)

Tigres went into the Liguilla as a lot of pundits’ favorites for the title, and after easily dispatching Chiapas in the quarters, few people see any reason to change their opinion.


Led by the continually-impressive Frenchman Andre-Pierre Gignac, and with one of the most resolute defense’s in the division, it would arguably be a surprise if they didn’t ultimately add to their three titles to date.


Toluca are no pushovers, however. Manager Jose Cardoso is a Liguilla veteran – even if some fans argue that he should have produced more success in his time at the club, while in Alfredo Talavera they have one of the best keepers in Mexico.


Like America-Pumas, Tigres and Toluca also played each other in the Liguilla 12 months ago, and like America, Tigres advanced thanks to a tiebreaker after a 0-0 aggregate draw.


Tigres have actually been something of a bogey-team for Toluca recently, aside from the aforementioned Liguilla, a 92nd minute Damian Alvarez winner on the final day of the 2014 Apertura saw Tigres take a Copa Libertadores spot at Los Diablos Rojos’ expense, while the Monterrey side also dumped Toluca out of the Copa MX in October 2014.


Prediction: Tigres UANL 2-0 Toluca

 
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