Tigres UANL has emerged as a dynasty in Mexican soccer and is looking for its fourth Liga MX crown in the last six years. Head coach, Ricardo Ferretti has been idolized and now considered to be arguably the best manager in Mexico.
The Brazilian manager has used a 4-2-3-1 formation and has the strongest squad in the southern hemisphere at his disposal. Tigres UANL is the favorite going into this final and should be able to take its sixth Liga MX title against a potent Chivas side. Here is a look at the possible starting XI Ricardo Ferretti will use to try and get that sixth Liga MX title for Tigres UANL
Nahuel Guzman GK
The Argentine is a reliable goalkeeper that shows up in the most important moments for Los Felinos. Guzman has had an excellent showing in the playoffs so far only allowing one goal and making several outstanding saves, especially in that series against Club Tijuana.
Jorge Torres Nilo LB
The Mexican fullback is set to return from injury and solidify the already rigid defense that has only allowed 13 goals in the regular season and playoffs combined. Alberto Acosta had done a fine job filling in for Torres Nilo during his injury but the return of the Mexican international is definitely helpful going into this final.
Characteristic of other Brazilians who make their way into the Liga MX, Juninho is an amazing professional and serves as the captain for Tigres UANL. The 34-year-old offers outstanding leadership, defensive capabilities and is also great at going forward with a goal and two assists in the regular season. Juninho’s passing ability is among the best in the league, having posted an impressive 87.5-percent pass accuracy with 1,047 completed passes. Juninho will be a crucial player in this final being instrumental in many components on the field.
Hugo Ayala CB
Juninho’s partner in the back line, Hugo Ayala has been just as vital as him for the current champions in this tournament. The Mexican defender has recovered the ball 486 times while having 959 completed passes this season. Ayala is one of the best defenders in the league and has always stayed consistent in the regular season and in the playoffs.
Luis Rodriguez RB
“El Chaka” was not a consistent starter for the entire season, Ricardo Ferretti having experimented in that right-back spot with Luis Advincula and Jorge Ivan Estrada. Rodriguez has been magnificent since he has claimed that starting role being an engine out on the field being everywhere on the pitch. The Mexican player can stay active for the entire 90 minutes and do work both defensively and in the attack. “El Chaka” is an undervalued player and should be able to make an impact in this final against Chivas.
Jesus Duenas CM
Duenas has quickly emerged as one of the best Mexican midfielders in the Liga MX and has earned a call to the Mexican national team. The 28-year-old is great at covering the midfield and going forward, having scored three goals in the regular season and two in the quarterfinals against archrivals, Monterrey. Duenas is a player that can sneak in and have an impactful performance without making too much noise.
Guido Pizarro CM
Pizarro is arguably the best and most impactful midfielder in the Liga MX. The Argentine excels in his defensive midfield role, has a spectacular passing ability and can push forward with skill as well. Pizarro posted an 88.5-percent pass accuracy with 1,159 completed passes, 376 recovered balls and an average of 10.6 kilometers covered per match this season. The Argentine has been one of the most impactful players for Tigres UANL this Clausura and should be able to make a significant impact in this final.
Javier Aquino LW
The Mexican winger only started in eleven games during the regular season but is making an enormous impact in the playoffs. Aquino was unable to score during the regular Clausura 2017 campaign but managed to score two in the semifinals matchup against Club Tijuana. The best part of the winger’s play is his pace which is immense but also has a superb passing ability that is very useful generating plays in attack. The 27-year-oll should be one of the more entertaining players to watch on the field for this final against Chivas.
Lucas Zelayaran RW
Zelayaran has been an on-and-off player for Ricardo Ferretti this season but has performed immensely in the playoffs so far. The Argentine picked up three goals during the regular season and put one past Club Tijuana in the semifinals. Zelayaran has pace and is an intelligent player with the ball that also possesses a magnificent strike on him. The 24-year old’s free kick ability can also make an impact in this final as set-pieces are always a danger coming up against Tigres UANL.
Ismael Sosa CAM
Sosa is the focal point of the attack for Tigres UANL being in that central spot every ball goes through him to generate scoring opportunities. The Argentine had a spectacular regular season with three goals and five assists but is yet to score in the playoffs. Sosa offers a lot more than just goals but will always be looking to impact the scoreboard somehow.
Andre-Pierre Gignac ST
There are no words that can do Gignac’s brilliance in the Liga MX justice. The French striker has scored four goals in the playoffs and will look to keep it going in this final. The 31-year-old did not score in the semifinals but still showed his class with two assists in the second leg of the series. One of the assists was a spectacular back-heel pass that showcased how spectacular the Frenchman can be. Gignac is still the best player in the Liga MX and has come up huge in monumental games before. It is unclear what type of impact the French international will make in this final but he is guaranteed to make some sort of impact on the pitch.