The semi-final fixtures of the CONCACAF Champions League get underway this week, with Pumas UNAM entertaining local rivals Cruz Azul at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario in the first leg on Tuesday.
Pumas overcame MLS side New England Revolution 4-3 on penalties in the quarter-finals after the two-legged tie ended 3-3 on aggregate. Meanwhile, Cruz also faced an MLS side in the quarter-finals, edging past Montreal 2-1 on aggregate.
Both Pumas and Cruz secured 1-0 wins in the Liga MX over the weekend, with the former beating Juarez and Cruz overcoming Atlas at home. The winner of this all-Mexican semi-final will take on either New York City FC or Seattle Sounders in the title decider next month.
Pumas UNAM vs Cruz Azul Head-to-Head
In 70 games previous games between the two teams since 1996, Cruz have been the better side, recording 31 wins and losing 17 times, with 22 games ending in draws.
They have been evenly matched across competitions since 2019, with three wins apiece and one game ending in a 1-1 draw. This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams since November. In their last encounter, Cruz secured a 2-1 win at the Estadio Azteca in March.
Pumas UNAM form guide (all competitions): W-D-L-W-L.
Cruz Azul form guide (all competitions): W-L-D-W-W.
Pumas UNAM vs Cruz Azul Team News
Marco Garcia, Leonel Lopez, Amaury Garcia, Favio Alvarez, Alek Alvarez and Jorge Ruvalcaba are out with injuries. They are expected to miss at least the first leg.
Injured: Jorge Ruvalcaba, Marco Garcia, Leonel Lopez, Amaury Garcia, Favio Alvarez, Alek Alvarez.
Carlos Rodriguez, Shaggy Martinez and Jesus Corona are the three absentees. The 41-year-old goalkeeper is nearing full fitness but will miss the first leg.
Injured: Shaggy Martinez, Jesus Corona.
Doubtful: Carlos Rodriguez.
Pumas UNAM vs Cruz Azul Predicted XIs
Pumas UNAM (4-3-3): Alfredo Talavera (GK); Alan Mozo, Arturo Ortiz, Nicolas Freire, Efrain Velarde; Omar Islas, Ricardo Galindo, Jeronimo Rodríguez; Rogerio, Juan Dinenno, Washington Coroz.
Cruz Azul (4-2-3-1): Sebastian Jurado (GK); Alejandro Mayorga, Pablo Aguilar, Luis Abram, Juan Escobar; Erik Lira, Rafael Baca; Uriel Antuna, Santiago Gimenez, Romulo Otero; Ivan Morales.
Pumas UNAM vs Cruz Azul Prediction
The two teams have endured similar outings in the Liga MX so far, with Cruz outscoring Auriazules 18-17 while conceding 14 goals in 12 games. Cruz are unbeaten in the CONCACAF Champions League, while Pumas have scored seven goals in two home games in the competition.
It's expected to be a close fixture but home form should play a part in this fixture, so Pumas will be able to secure a narrow win.
Prediction: Pumas UNAM 2-1 Cruz Azul.