Club Tijuana had looked imperious for much of the season, but they have now not won in four and travel to Toluca this weekend in danger of missing out on the top eight post-season spots.
Time: 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST
Date: Sunday 26th April 2015
Where: Estadio Nemesio Díez, Toluca, Mexico
Watch: Univision and Univision Deportes (USA), Planeta Futbol and Televisa (Mexico)
After finishing the 2014 Apertura in 11th place, very few people would have predicted Tijuana would be anywhere near the top of the table in the Clausura. In that respect, this season has already surpassed all expectations – they sit third with 24 points and are well placed to grab a play-off place. However, when it’s considered that they lost only one of their first ten games and were five points clear at the top of the league, their season is starting to unravel.
Since they beat Veracruz 3-1 in Week 10, they’ve lost three (2-1 vs Cruz Azul, 4-3 vs Monterrey, 2-1 vs Queretaro) and drawn one (1-1 vs Chivas), and have been reeled in and overtaken by both Chivas and Veracruz. Depending on results elsewhere, it’s more than feasible that they could be outside the top six by the time they kick-off on Sunday lunchtime. With only a four point cushion over Toluca in ninth, it’s a game they cannot afford to lose.
Toluca are in many ways the opposite of Tijuana. In the Apertura they finished fourth, only losing out on second spot and a place in this year’s Copa Libertadores after a 92nd minute winner by Tigres’ Damian Alvarez saw them slump to a 2-1 loss on the final day of the season. They were eventually beaten in the semi-finals of the play-offs on away goals, again by Tigres. Despite losing Issac Brizuela to Chivas, they looked like a sure bet to be competing at the sharp end of the table this term and were many pundits’ pick for the title. Instead they find themselves in ninth spot with twenty points. A defeat this weekend would deal a serious blow to their post-season aspirations.
The hosts hold the head to head advantage – they’ve won four and draw two of the last six games between the two. You have to go back to December 2012 for the last time Tijuana took all three points, when goals from Richard Ruiz and Duvier Riascos gave them a 2-0 away win.
Tijuana welcome back top scorer Juan Arango after his two match ban for biting Monterrey’s Jesus Zavala, as well as Alex Guido who was sent off against Queretaro. It means both sides are suspension and injury free and the managers have full squads at their disposal.
(Video) Queretaro 2-1 Club Tijuana Liga MX highlights – third consecutive defeat sees visitors lose top spot
Club Tijuana confirm friendly against Athletic Bilbao this summer
(Video) Top Flight Toluca Stunned 6-1 In Cup Loss Against Lower League Opposition