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.
Tigres UANL remained unbeaten at home this season with a 2-0 victory against Atlas. The result keeps the Rojinegros rooted to the foot of the table with their fourth straight road loss, while the universitarios snapped a three-game winless streak.
Tigres came out attacking as they looked to get back to winning ways and they had several early chances, but the final touch was lacking. Then, in the 13th minute, Juan Pablo Vigón had a chance for Atlas, but he took too long to get his shot off and the defense intervened.
Despite playing 11 v 10 for nearly 70 minutes, Lobos BUAP couldn’t break the deadlock as they drew 0-0 with Tigres UANL. The result keeps the Licántropos unbeaten in two while the universitarios remain winless in three.
Lobos came out attacking and Nahuel Guzmán was forced into several good saves to keep the hosts off the board. Then in the 21st minute, Rafael Carioca picked up a straight red card to leave Tigres with just 10 men, and it seemed like Lobos would take control of the game.
Pumas UNAM vs Tigres UANL – 1:00 PM – Univision Deportes
Pumas UNAM (1st) drew 1-1 with Lobos BUAP last weekend, a surprising result in a game that pitted first place against last. The universitarios remain unbeaten this season, although they are now winless in two; they’ll look to get back to winning ways – and solidify their grasp on first place – when they return home to the Estadio Olímpico Universitario for this one. Pumas may also be concerned by the fact that, after scoring six goals in their opening two games, they’ve scored just one since.
As for Tigres UANL (6th), the universitarios beat Pachuca 3-2 last weekend to remain perfect at home this season. Tigres are also unbeaten in three overall, and they’ll look for their first road win of the Clausura in this one. Despite sitting five places behind Pumas, Tigres are only one point back; a win here could see them finish the weekend in first place.
10-man Tigres UANL scored late to earn a 3-2 victory against Pachuca. The result keeps the universitarios perfect at home this season as well as unbeaten in three overall, while the Tuzos remain winless on the road.
The hosts had chances early on, but Alfonso Blanco made several good saves to keep Tigres off the board. Pachuca had few chances of their own, although Emmanuel García did test Nahuel Guzmán in the 31st minute.
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.
Neither team could find the breakthrough in this one as Querétaro and Tigres UANL played out a 0-0 draw. The result keeps the Gallos Blancos both winless and unbeaten at home this season, while the universitarios earned their first road point of the Clausura 2018.
Both teams looked to attack, but neither could take control of the game. Play was primarily in midfield in the first half, with neither Tiago Volpi nor Nahuel Guzmán overly busy in goal.