Tigres' Andre-Pierre Gignac (center) eludes Monterrey defenders during a Liga MX Clausura quarterfinal match on May 14, 2016, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo: Carlos Ramirez/Straffon Images)
SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico – In their last 10 “Clásico Regiomontano” showdowns, Tigres has managed to walk off the field unbeaten eight times, including four wins, against Monterrey.
Regardless of recent results between them, whenever the rivals square off, the record books can be disregarded.
They meet again on Saturday at the Estadio Universitario under dissimilar circumstances. Host Tigres (7W-5D-2L, 26 points) currently sits in third place and is virtually assured of a playoff berth, while 11th-place Monterrey (4-6-4, 18) is three points off the postseason pace.
Although his team is eight spots and points ahead of the Rayados in the standings, Tigres’ Jorge Torres Nilo is warning against complacency.
"There are no favorites,” said the 28-year-old defender, a Mexico international. “We know that the Clásico is that way and it’s not important how you arrive to it, what place you’re in or how you look. If you ask questions of them and us, what is it that we want? In these instances, for all of the league, for us both, and it’s to win the Clásico.”
Monterrey is in more urgent need of a win to aid its postseason cause, but UANL’s desire to secure the top seed for the playoffs serves as strong motivation.
"I know they have an idea of the points (they need in order to qualify),” Torres Nilo remarked. “We do as well, but in reality the most important thing for our squad is to win it. We are working at 100 percent and we want these three points to stay here at home. We’re confident in the way that we have worked and we know that we’re going to go well.
"[Monterrey] is a good team. It has a good level of players on all lines. We respect them, but we are very confident in what we have been working well. It will not be easy, but we are confident in what we are doing and we know that we’re going to get the win."
Monterrey eliminated Tigress from the 2016 Clausura playoffs at the quarterfinal stage, 4-3 on aggregate. Torres Nilo says that winning now – and not thoughts of sporting revenge – is all that matters.
"It happened, that's in the past,” he finished. “Yes, we preserved the taste of wanting to pass to the next round on that occasion, but it was in the past. Right now, it’s a new Clásico and, obviously, we want to go out and win. With that mentality, we’re going all out and I believe that’s making us know that we have many chances of taking the three points.”