Despite domestic form, Pachuca’s Alonso optimistic for SCCL final

Head coach Diego Alonso (pictured) has guided Pachuca to the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final. (Photo: Manuel Montoya/Straffon Images)

PACHUCA, Mexico – Pachuca head coach Diego Alonso is well aware of the threat posed by Tigres in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final.

The sides will meet in the series opener on Tuesday at UANL’s Estadio Universitario, with their respective Liga MX Clausura forms heading in opposite directions. Eighth-place Pachuca hasn’t scored in five consecutive games, while ninth-place Tigres is unbeaten in seven of its last eight outings and is coming off two straight wins by the combined 7-0 score.

“It will be a difficult match,” said Alonso, who hopes to guide his club to a fifth CONCACAF crown overall. “Above all, because we face, maybe, Mexico’s best team. They have it all. They have played league and Libertadores finals, in addition to having the best manager [Ricardo Ferretti] in the league.”

Although Pachuca – the 2016/17 SCCL’s highest-scoring team with 27 goals in eight games -- is currently struggling in front of Liga MX nets, it has been tightfisted defensively, conceding only once in its last 368 minutes.

Regardless of form, Alonso is comfortable with his squad heading into the CONCACAF showdown.

“We are in a place where we want to be,” the 42-year-old Uruguayan finished. “We will try to do our part and that it goes a little better for us. Hopefully, we can have the same quality of football and impose ourselves on them.”

In their only Clausura meeting on February 11, 2017, Pachuca earned a 1-0 win over visiting Tigres thanks to Franco Jara’s seventh-minute goal.