Tigres are set to play the first leg of their CCL series against Pumas UNAM this Wednesday at El Volcán. The matchup will be familiar to many Tigres fans and players alike, as we have squared off with Pumas in a two-legged tie several times over the past few years.
When and Where
For starters, let’s get some context for this matchup. This is the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, and is therefore a must win if Tigres wish to qualify for the Club World Cup in December. Game 1 will be played on Wednesday, February 22, at Estadio Universitario at 21:00 local time. Americans will find the game on Univision Deportes, while fans in Mexico, Central America, and South America can tune in to Fox Sports to catch all the action.
In case you need a refresher, Tigres and Pumas are no strangers to each other. Aside from the two league fixtures between the teams each year, the two teams have met in the liguilla twice recently, playing out a two-legged series much like this one. Last winter, during the Apertura 2016 playoffs, Tigres managed to dispose of Pumas 7-2 on aggregate thanks to a 5-0 home win. That series was also a quarterfinal. Go back another year before that and the two sides met in the league final, with Tigres once again taking home the glory on penalties after a furious Pumas comeback forced extra time at Estadio Olímpico.
What to Expect
A recent fan poll showed that Tigres fans are more interested in winning the Champions League than they are in a Liga MX repeat, so it is likely that Tuca will put his very best eleven out on the field come Wednesday. Further supporting this are the squads that the team utilized during last season’s knockout round; even in the quarterfinals against Real Salt Lake, Tuca played the majority of the league starters. Our league position isn’t perfect at the moment, but with a home match against Morelia coming up it seems best to take the chance and give it our all during the first leg. We all know how tough it is to win at Estadio Olímpico, so a good result at El Volcán is imperative if we are to advance.