MEXICO - The Clausura 2014 season of the LIGA Bancomer MX kicks off its quarterfinals stage tonight Wednesday April 30th with two first leg matches. It will continue tomorrow Thursday May 1st with the two other first leg matches.
Club America vs Santos Laguna - 6:00pm (pacific)
Fifth place America host fourth place Santos Laguna in the first match of this season’s liguilla. Former Tijuana Xolos manager Antonio “Turco” Mohamed has somehow gotten the Mexico City giants into the playoffs despite their irregular season. The Aguilas are on a run of six winless games in their own home the Estadio Azteca. The streak even included a 2-4 loss to Santos in week 10. Santos will look to leave behind the negative image of the Copa Libertadores with a strong showing in the domestic playoffs.
Leon vs Cruz Azul - 8:00pm (pacific)
The reigning Mexican league champions Leon barely managed to sneak into the eight place position with two wins in the final two matches and several other lucky results that favored them. The champs will now have to face the season’s league leaders Cruz Azul in a repeat of the memorable 1997 championship final where Cruz Azul won their last league title walking away victorious in a penalty shootout.
Pachuca vs Pumas UNAM - 6:00pm (pacific)
In what is probably the most even matchup of the four two quality, but inconsistent teams face off. Whichever team ends up advancing will surely be the dark horse bet for the rest of the tournament. The number three team Pumas UNAM will have to find a way to score goals without their star striker Martin Bravo who is still out with injury. Bravo would have battled until the end of the season for the golden boot, but in the end it was Pachuca’s Ednner Valencia who took the honor with 12 goals. Putting the ball in the back of the net does not seem to be a problem for the Hidalgo side, but defending their goal has been a bit of a headache. They had to rely on four goals in the final 15 minutes of the last regular season match to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Queretaro.
Tijuana Xolos vs Toluca - 8:00pm (pacific)
Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles are once again in the playoffs after going both of the 2013 semesters without finishing in the top eight. The Xolos have been drawn up against the number two seed Toluca, who along with Cruz Azul dominated the entire league and CONCACAF Champions League. Xolos will need to make sure to get a positive result at home in the first leg since their road troubles have been well documented.