Pachuca's Franco Jara (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting Tigres in a Liga MX Clausura match on April 9, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
PACHUCA, Mexico – Could Sunday’s Campeón de Campeones clash be a preview of the next Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) final?
Well, when 2016/17 SCCL qualifiers Pachuca and Tigres meet at the StubHub Center for Liga MX’s annual curtain raiser, two of Mexico’s best will try to make a statement ahead of their opening matches in the prestigious international competition.
“It’s another title,” said Pachuca forward Franco Jara. “It’s a final and you have to win it no matter what. It is important for the club and for us. We will play for it in the best way.”
The Tuzos earned a spot in the prestigious encounter by virtue of capturing the 2016 Clausura crown topping Monterrey in the final, 2-1 on aggregate.
Midfielder Víctor Guzman, who scored the title-winning goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time in the second leg, is motivated by the opportunity to become a champion once again.
“In these moments, playing for another trophy is our biggest objective,” said the 21-year-old, a potential member of Mexico’s Olympic team. “We come in working well for a few months and hope to be able to demonstrate that in this match once more.”
In two 2015/16 Liga MX meetings between Pachuca and Tigres, both sides registered 2-1 wins at home. Since UANL won the 2015 Apertura and reached the final of the 2015/16 SCCL, Pachuca is expecting a serious challenge.
“We know that [Tigres] is a very big team, but so are we,” Jara stressed. “We should try to commit fewer errors.”
Guzman also hailed Tigres’ talent, but maintained that with accurate finishing, Pachuca can emerge victorious.
“Tigres is a good team with players of much quality on all lines,” he concluded. “We have to be decisive in front of goal to be able to beat them.”
Pachuca will kick off its SCCL schedule against visiting Olimpia on August 2, while Tigres starts on August 17 at Herediano.