The revamped 2018 CONCACAF Champions League kicks off this week with the first legs of the round of sixteen.
The new CCL format has done away with the group stage and will be a straight knockout format throughout the competition. The round of sixteen is a home-and-away, two-legged aggregate goals series. Away goals are tiebreakers.
Mexico’s qualifiers are Tigres UANL, América, Tijuana, and Chivas de Guadalajara, and they will be facing, respectively, Costa Rica’s Herediano, Costa Rica’s Saprissa, Honduras’s Motagua, and the Dominican Republic’s Cibao FC.
Chivas de Guadalajara came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Pachuca. The result keeps El Rebaño winless at home this season – and winless in five overall – while the Tuzos remain unbeaten in three.
Chivas came out attacking as they looked for that elusive home victory, and they dominated the game in large part. Their first chance came in the 3rd minute through Rodolfo Pizarro, who sent his shot against the crossbar; two minutes later, he saw his header saved by Alfonso Blanco.
Chivas de Guadalajara scored in stoppage time to snatch a 2-2 draw with Querétaro. The result snaps a three-game losing streak for El Rebaño, although they remain winless in four, while the Gallos Blancos are unbeaten in two.
Chivas came out attacking and Tiago Volpi was kept busy in goal to keep the visitors off the board. But it was the hosts who took the lead in the 18th minute. Edson Puch finished off a quick counterattack to give Querétaro the 1-0 lead.
Puebla remained perfect at home this season with a 2-0 victory against Chivas de Guadalajara, a victory that puts the Poblanos top of the table pending the rest of this weekend’s games. The result is a second straight loss for El Rebaño, and their first loss in the Estadio Cuauhtémoc in nearly a decade.
The game started off perfectly for the hosts, with Puebla taking the lead in just the third minute. Francisco Acuña got the ball in the box and tried a shot; it was blocked, with the rebound falling back to Acuña, who tried again. This time he hit the post, and still Chivas couldn’t clear the ball. Omar Fernández pounced on the rebound to head Puebla ahead, 1-0.
Puebla vs Chivas de Guadalajara – 8:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Puebla (10th) fell 2-0 to Tijuana last weekend to keep them winless on the road this season. The Poblanos are unbeaten – and in fact perfect – at home, however, and they’ll look to get back to winning ways when they return to the Estadio Cuauhtémoc for this one. Puebla’s averaging two goals a game at home and they’ll look to take advantage of their opponent’s somewhat leaky defense in this one.
As for Chivas de Guadalajara (15th), el Rebaño fell 1-2 to Monterrey last weekend to keep them winless at home this season. Chivas is unbeaten on the road, though, with a win and a draw, and they’ll look to get back to winning ways when they visit Puebla in this one. Chivas has scored in every game they’ve played to date, but they’ve also conceded in all of them, allowing seven goals in four games.
Monterrey remained perfect on the road this season with a 1-2 away win against Chivas de Guadalajara. The result leaves El Rebaño winless at home this season, while the Rayados remain unbeaten in the Clausura 2018.
The first half started off somewhat slowly, with few real chances of note until just before halftime, when Rodolfo Cota made a pair of saves on Rogelio Funes Mori and Arturo González in the 40th minute. Then, two minutes later, Monterrey took the lead.
Lobos BUAP vs Pumas UNAM – 6:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Lobos BUAP (18th) fell 3-1 to Pachuca last weekend to remain winless this season. The licántropos have suffered three consecutive losses to start the Clausura, which has seen them drop down the relegation standings. Another loss here could see them fall as far as 17th in the Tabla de Cociente. Lobos’ defense has been their main problem; they’ve allowed nine goals to date, a league high. Although they’ve scored three goals of their own, they haven’t been able to make those goals stand up. They need to focus on keeping a clean sheet when they return home for this one.
As for Pumas UNAM (1st), the universitarios drew 0-0 with América last weekend in the Clásico Capitalino. The result keeps Pumas unbeaten this season, although they are no longer perfect. They got back to winning ways in midweek with a 3-0 victory against FC Juárez in the Copa MX and they’ll look for another league win here when they face the team on the opposite end of the table.
Querétaro vs Tijuana – 6:00 PM – Galavisión
Querétaro (9th) beat Lobos BUAP 0-2 last weekend to give the Gallos Blancos their first win of the season – and a little breathing room in the relegation standings. They earned another win in the Copa MX in midweek, where they beat Monarcas Morelia 3-1. Querétaro will look to keep the good results coming here, although they will be without the suspended Edson Puch for this one.
As for Tigres UANL (10th), the universitarios beat Santos Laguna 2-1 last weekend to similarly earn their first win of the season. The reigning champions will now look for their first away win when they visit Querétaro here. Tigres will be better-rested than their opponent as they had no midweek game.
Cruz Azul game from behind to earn a 1-3 away win against Chivas de Guadalajara. The result keeps La Máquina unbeaten this season while El Rebaño remain winless.
Chivas controlled the majority of possession in the first half, although Cruz Azul had a few dangerous chances through Martín Rodríguez and Felipe Mora. Nevertheless, it was the hosts who opened the scoring.