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Chivas de Guadalajara vs Club America – Liga MX Preview: Mexican ‘Super Clasico’ sees Matosas under pressure

Chivas vs America is the biggest game in Mexico. While it doesn’t have the bitter hatred of the America vs Pumas UNAM Mexico City derby or the Chivas vs Atlas Guadalajara derby, this is the one game that the entire country will stop and watch.

Time: 4:30pm PDT / 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST
Date: Sunday 26th April 2015
Where: Estadio Omnilife, Guadalajara, Mexico
Watch: Univision and Univision Deportes (USA), Planeta Futbol and Televisa (Mexico)

No other game on the Liga MX calendar captures the imagination of Mexican supporters quite like the Super Clasico. The two sides are the most successful in country (America won their twelfth title in December, overtaking Chivas’ previous record of eleven), they have six Champions League titles between them (America five, Chivas one), and seven Copa MX wins (America five, Chivas two). Chivas are also the Mexican side that has come closest to lifting the Copa Libertadores, as they finished runners-up to Internacional in 2010.

The rivalry runs deeper than football. Club America, who hail from Mexico City, have traditionally represented the wealthy Mexican elite and have a team packed with some of the best foreign stars in Latin America. Chivas come from Mexico’s second city, Guadalajara, and have a policy of only fielding Mexican players. For the most part it’s a policy that’s worked – stars such as Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández, Carlos Vela, and Carlos Salcido have all come through their academy in recent years.

This is the 185th edition of the Super Clasico, and America have held the upper hand both historically (65 wins vs 60 wins) and in recent seasons (winning four and drawing one of the last six head-to-heads).

Although the visitors have been the pre-eminent force in Mexican football in the last two years – winning two titles (Clausura 2013 and Apertura 2014) and ending as runners-up in the Apertura 2013 – things are different this season. They have stuttered under new manager Gustavo Matosas while Chivas, who entered the campaign expecting to fight against relegation until the last kick of the season, find themselves top of the table – three points ahead of America in fifth and with the best defensive record in the division.

The reason for America’s troubles is down to a combination of factors; Matosas has tried to implement his gung-ho tactics too quickly on a team that America’s previous manager built to defend, their potent front three of Darwin Quintero, Oribe Peralta, and Dario Benedetto have failed to click with enough regularity, and they have been too fragile defensively.

Matosas is now under huge pressure to deliver. After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Montreal Impact in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final at the Azteca in midweek, he finds himself facing a potentially career-defining seven days. He took the America job in January after guiding Club Leon to back-to-back Liga MX titles (Apertura 2013 and Clausura 2014), but a loss to Chivas could see his side slip outside the top eight play-off places with only two regular season games remaining, and a loss to Montreal in the second leg on Wednesday could see them end the campaign without a trophy. The previous incumbent Antonio ‘Turco’ Mohamed was sacked after winning the title in December, meaning failure to make the post-season would almost certainly spell the end for the current boss.

America have no injuries or suspensions, while Angel Reyna and Jair Pereira are doubtful for Chivas.

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