Liga MX: Teams That Will Advance to the Liguilla Semifinals
The regular season of the 2014 Clausura tournament is over and the eight teams that will play in the Liguilla have been determined.
Cruz Azul, Toluca, UNAM, Santos Laguna, Club America, Pachuca, Tijuana and Leon will fight in two-leg matches in hopes to secure the league title.
The competition will be fierce in the quarterfinals, the first stage of the Liguilla, but only four of them will have the honor of playing in the semifinals.
Let's find out which teams will qualify to the next stage.
All data provided by MedioTiempo.com unless otherwise stated.
Santos Laguna will face Club America for the 63rd time in their history. In their last three games, "Los Guerreros" have defeated "Las Aguilas". In the latest, Club America were in control of the score (2-0) but Santos Laguna managed to overturn the result and took away the victory at the Estadio Azteca (2-4).
Led by fan favorite Oribe Peralta, the squad secured the ticket to the Liguilla in the last matchday, after a tie with Veracruz.
Coach Pedro Caixinha took over the team a year ago, at the 2013 Clausura, and he has managed to qualify the team to every Liguilla since his arrival. However, he has yet to win a title.
In both the 2013 Clausura and the 2013 Apertura he took the squad all the way to the semifinals, where they lost to Cruz Azul and Leon, respectively.
Record against Club America: 15-29-18
First leg: Wednesday, April 30, 9 p.m. ET, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City.
Second leg: Saturday, May 3, 10 p.m. ET, Estadio Corona, Torreon.
"La Maquina" are set to face Leon and the momentum is on Luis Fernando Tena's team side. They conquered the CONCACAF Champions League this month, their first international title in 16 years.
Cruz Azul have been trying to secure a league title since 1997, when Tena was in charge of the team. However, they have fallen short hence they have disappointed their loyal base of fans.
Now, with a renewed Marco Fabian, who had a tough time with Chivas de Guadalajara, and the experience of Christian Gimenez, Gerardo Torrado and Jose de Jesus Corona, the squad has a good chance to make the dream come true.
Tena's boys get to the Liguilla with the second best offense of the regular tournament, with 28 goals for.
Record against Leon: 19-24-13
First leg: Wednesday, April 30, 11 p.m. ET, Nou Camp, Leon.
Second leg: Saturday, May 3, 8 p.m. ET, Estadio Azul, Mexico City.
Recently beaten by Cruz Azul in the CONCACAF Champions League final, Toluca have always been a threat in the Liguilla and their next prey is Tijuana.
From 1996 to 2012 "Los Diablos Rojos" have been finalists 10 times and have won seven of them, becoming the most successful team since the short tournament championships were established (1996 Invierno tournament).
Currently coached by Jose Saturnino Cardozo, the all-time scorer of Toluca, the team has displayed speed and an ability to get in behind the defence, which makes them an unpredictable squad with lethal strikers of the likes of Pablo Velazquez and Raul Nava.
Record against Tijuana: 1-3-4
First leg: Thursday, May 1, 11 p.m. ET, Estadio Caliente, Tijuana.
Second leg: Sunday, May 4, 1 p.m. ET, Estadio Nemesio Diez, Toluca.
Pachuca will play in the Liguilla for the first time since the 2012 Clausura and they will do it against UNAM.
"Los Tuzos" have not qualified to the semifinals since 2010, when they lost to Toluca in the Bicentenario tournament. The last time they won a title was at the 2007 Clausura.
After a shaky season, which included only four victories on home soil and seven defeats, they managed to secure a spot in the playoffs after a miraculous comeback in Matchday 17.
They defeated Queretaro after trailing the local team 3-0, but when the referee ended the game "Los Tuzos" were ahead 3-4.
Pachuca’s biggest advantage will be Martin Bravo’s injury, UNAM’s top scorer, as he will miss both legs of the quarterfinals.
Record against UNAM: 9-10-7
First leg: Thursday, May 1, 9 p.m. ET, Estadio Hidalgo, Pachuca.
Second leg: Sunday, May 4, 6 p.m. ET, Estadio Olimpico, Mexico City.