In a tournament in which they have upset the ominous odds against them, Chivas will try to take another step to return to the throne of Mexican soccer.
Guadalajara visits Tigres tonight in the first leg of the Clausura 2023 final.
Guadalajara has been the surprise in the tournament because with the European duo made up of the Serbian coach Veljko Paunovic and the Spanish Fernando Hierro as sports director, they finished third in the standings and then in the league they left out Atlas and América, in the quarterfinals. final and semifinals, respectively.
After eliminating two classic rivals, Chivas will face a Tigres that boasts a squad full of veterans, who seemed to have left their glory days behind. But the club has resurfaced thanks to the Uruguayan Robert Dante Siboldi, plus the youth and talent that Sebastián Córdova injected into them in the league.
Before the start of the final, there are three key factors that could determine the next Mexican champion.
DUEL ON THE BENCH
Siboldi has more experience in endgames. He was already champion in Mexico under the command of Santos Laguna in the Clausura 2018, defeating Toluca in the final.
After that, his best result was a semifinal with Cruz Azul in the Apertura 2020, when the Machine squandered a four-goal lead and was eliminated by Pumas.
Paunovic celebrates his first league in Mexico, but the Serbian has shown that he has a great capacity to adapt his lineups according to the rivals and has managed to reach the final despite having played almost the entire tournament without a traditional nine.
THE MOMENT OF CÓRDOVA
Just at the end of last year, Miguel Herrera classified the Tigres squad as “old”, one of the reasons that led to his departure from the team.
Six months later, the same veteran base has shone again with the contributions of Córdova and Diego Lainez, recently acquired.
Córdova has five goals in the finals, including the goal that gave Tigres a place in the title series against Monterrey. Although Lainez has not weighed the same, his speed on the wings is something that the team had lost.
If Córdova maintains the level of the last games, Chivas will have a tough mission to stop him because he is a player who alternates on the wings and even plays as a false nine behind the Frenchman André-Pierre Gignac.
DYNAMICS VS. TALENT
Chivas has three strong players in Alexis Vega, Víctor Guzmán and Roberto Alvarado, but their success in the tournament has been based on the collective and highly dynamic game that Paunovic likes.
Against América, it was evident that Guadalajara’s great physical shape was key to suffocating the talented Águilas squad.
The Guadalajara team should maintain that same level because Tigres, although its pace is no longer dizzying, has players like Córdova, Lainez, Gignac, Nicolás López and Luis Quiñones who are capable of changing the game in one play.