Pachuca's Victor Guzman (pictured) played for Mexico in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo: Carlos Ramirez/Straffon Images)
PACHUCA, Mexico – Pachuca’s 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League fate will be determined at Honduras’ Olimpia on Wednesday as Group E play concludes.
The first-place Tuzos (3W-D0-L0, 9 points) will seal advancement to next year’s quarterfinals with a win, draw or one-goal loss, while Olimpia will progress with a win of two goals or more.
Pachuca midfielder Víctor Guzman believes that competition for starting spots has not only spurred success in the SCCL, but also in the Liga MX Apertura, where it sits in third with a 6W-3D-3L record.
“There exists within the team a healthy competition that obliges us to fight in the best way for a spot,” said Guzman, who has one goal in 10 domestic appearances.
That notion will once again be put to the test when Pachuca hosts Santos on Saturday. Although the Torreon-based is struggling in 17th place, Guzman warned against complacency.
“We cannot get overconfident because of the situation they are going through," he commented. "I think the results just haven’t gone their way, but they are a good team that is improving and find itself well coached."
After facing Santos, Pachuca will complete the Apertura regular season with four games, with three of them against teams currently in 10th place or higher in the standings.
Guzman stressed that Pachuca must be at its best in those games if it wants to seal a postseason berth.
“We have five very difficult and important matches,” the 21-year-old finished. “We should look to win each one of them and go into the [playoffs] in the best form possible.”
Pachuca is searching for its second consecutive Liga MX title after defeating Monterrey, 2-1 on aggregate, in the 2016 Clausura final.