Struggling América and rampant Cruz Azul set to renew crosstown rivalry

UNAM pays visit to Guadalajara on Saturday; CL2024 revelations Necaxa and Pachuca to tangle at Estadio Victoria tonight

Cruz Azul will try to tackle reigning Liga MX champions América in the 120th "Clásico Joven" at Estadio Azteca on Saturday night.
Cruz Azul will try to tackle reigning Liga MX champions América in the 120th "Clásico Joven" at Estadio Azteca on Saturday night. / Manuel Velasquez/GettyImages
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After five midweek Matchday 9 contests, Liga MX backtracks to Matchday 8 this weekend with the América-Cruz Azul clash at Estadio Azteca headlining a full calendar.

The defending champion Aguilas will try to slow down the streaking Cementeros (Cruz Azul has ridden a six-game win streak to the top of the Liga MX table), while “La Máquina Azul” would love nothing better than to avenge the 7-0 smackdown handed to them by their crosstown rivals back in August 2022.

América is coming off a disappointing 2-2 draw against lowly Mazatlán FC at the Azteca – perhaps looking ahead to Cruz Azul – and still looking to discover the form that saw them romp to their 14th Liga MX championship last season.

The Cementeros, meanwhile, are thriving under first-year coach Martín Anselmi. They leapfrogged Pachuca – a 4-1 winner at Puebla on Tuesday – by defeating León on the road in a game that featured a 32-minute second-half delay when the lights went out at the Camp Nou.

Showdown at Estadio Akron

In addition to the 120th regular-season "Clásico Joven,” the other two members of The Big Four will square off in Guadalajara.

UNAM will take on the Chivas immediately before the América-Cruz Azul scuffle with the hosts looking to regain their footing after a dismal performance at Necaxa on Tuesday.

The 1-0 loss to the Rayos left “El Rebaño Sagrado mired in 9th place with a 3-3-2 record. That gut-punch came on the heels of a 2-2 draw at Mazatlán FC that has rookie coach Fernando Gago tinkering with his line-up.

Gago and Chivas Nation are no doubt encouraged by the progress that “Chicharito” Hernández is making in his return from June knee surgery, but his debut is still another week or two away. 

The 3rd-place Pumas will be looking to continue their recent run of success against Guadalajara. “Los felinos” pipped the Chivas to the No. 4 playoff seed with a 1-0 win in the season finale last November, then eliminated the 5th-seeded Goats in the quarterfinals.

Prior to that, the Chivas dominated the rivalry. You have to go back to 2018 to find the last time UNAM won at Estadio Akron. The Chivas have won five straight over the Pumas on their home ground, outscoring “Los Auriazules” to the tune of 13-4.

Elsewhere in Liga MX

The Matchday 8 calendar kicks off tonight with a triple-header featuring the two remaining unbeaten Liga MX teams.

Necaxa (3-5-0) welcomes a precocious Pachuca side that leads Liga MX in scoring (20 goals in eight games). These two clubs are enjoying a revival after both missed the playoffs last season. 

At the same time in Cd. Juárez, the Bravos host 4th-place Monterrey (4-3-0). FC Juárez – one of three winless Liga MX teams – returns to action after its Matchday 7 contest against Puebla was postponed following the death of Bravos forward Diego Chávez

Friday’s slate opens in Puebla with the 17th-place Camoteros hosting 14th-placed Querétaro.

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The rest of the Matchday 8 schedule has Atlético de San Luis visiting León and Tigres hosting Atlas on Saturday. Sunday’s twin bill features Tijuana at Toluca followed by Mazatlán FC at Santos Laguna.