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Preview: Pumas open CCL Quarterfinals vs Tigres

THE BASICS
Pumas at Tigres
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 9:00 p.m. CT
Estadio Universitario, Monterrey

BROADCAST INFORMATION
USA – Univision Deportes USA, fuboTV
Mexico – Fox Sports Mexico, FOX Play Latin America
*Listings via LiveSoccerTV.com and in Spanish unless otherwise noted

PREVIEW
Hopefully you didn’t forget Pumas are still very much involved in the CONCACAF Champions League, as the tournament picks back up this week. They’ll have their hands full with Tigres, an opponent that has given them much trouble over the past year.

Pumas finished at the top of Group A with 9 points, outscoring their opponents 15-5 in the four group stage matches. Tigres also finished with 9 points and won their group, outscoring their opponents 9-3. You can see statistically both teams come into this home and away series with similar results, and naturally the teams were seeded four (Pumas) and five (Tigres).

Pumas come into the match winless in their last three league games, but did complete an epic three goal comeback last weekend, while Tigres got a win after three straight losses. It’ll be interesting to see how both Juan Francisco Palencia and Ricardo Ferretti handle their lineups with the game sandwiched between two league games.

It’s difficult to predict, but we could see Palencia give Dario Veron a rest, and he as players like Alejandro Castro, Jose Antonio Garcia, and Luis Quintana at his disposal. For such a big game, I would expect Palencia to use a seasoned veteran like Castro if he decided to rest Veron (or Gerardo Alcoba). On the left side of the defense, Erik Vera could slot in to give Alan Mendoza a rest and I think Pumas improve a bit defensively, although Mendoza provides a bigger offensive spark. Considering how tough it is to win in Monterrey, that could work to Pumas advantage.

I could also see Josecarlos Van Rankin sitting for Jose Antonio Garcia, and either Javier Cortes or Pablo Barrera getting a rest. Cortes could move forward to cover Barrera or if Cortes is rested, I’d expect Kevin Escamilla put in the midfield to try and help stop the attack. You could argue that a midfield of Escamilla, Abraham Gonzalez, and Cortes could be deployed in a 4-3-3 to limit the Tigres offense.

Up front, it’s possible Palencia goes all out on the attack and finally lines up Nicolas Castillo and Matias Britos from the start. Whatever the case may be, Palencia has options.

The second leg, which will be played at Estadio Olimpico Universitario, will be the following Wednesday, March 1.

CCL BRACKET

PUMAS INJURY / ABSENCE REPORT
None

PROJECTED LINEUP

PREDICTION
Pumas 1-1 Tigres

What are your thoughts on the game against Tigres? Leave your comments below.

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