16 October 2014 04:37
America will host Monterrey in a blockbuster fixture, with the visitors desperate to end their winless streak against the Liga MX leaders.
Monterrey head to the Estadio Azteca on Saturday three points adrift of America in third position after 12 rounds in Apertura, though Carlos Barra’s men have a game in hand.
The four-time Mexican champions have won two of their past three league matches, drawing 1-1 with Tijuana before the international break.
America, on the other hand, were crushed 4-0 by Mexico City rivals Cruz Azul almost a fortnight ago.
Antonio Mohamed’s America, however, have the edge over Monterrey, who have failed to beat their high-flying opponents in six previous attempts.
Monterrey have lost four matches to America since 2012 – including a 2-1 home loss in March – a run midfielder Jesus Zavala is keen to end.
“The team has to think about winning. Statistics are there and we must try to break them,” said Zavala.
“Throughout the tournament we played in other places that had not won and now they have achieved triumphs.
“Team is psyched to win and claim three points. We want to be in the top rating.”
Zavala added: “We know that in the end of the tournament we will play tough matches, but the team is ready.
“Now we have a tough opponent who is America that are doing well throughout the tournament and we have the chance to fight the lead with them.
“Moreover, it will be a good parameter for us.”
America’s three-game winning streak came to an end last time out, conceding three goals in the final five minutes as Cruz Azul ran rampant.
Defender Osmar Mares – on loan from Santos Laguna – insisted the hosts will be ready for the challenge of Monterrey.
“We do a counter-attack goal in the last game so if you have to be careful but we were already working on it and are prepared for Monterrey,” said the 27-year-old.
A draw or defeat for America would open the door for second-placed Atlas, who are in action later on Saturday.
Atlas – two points behind the pacesetters following back-to-back wins – entertain fourth-placed Toluca.
In other fixtures, Ronaldinho’s Queretaro know there is no margin for error when they travel to Tijuana on Friday.
Queretaro have lost two games on the bounce to sit a point behind eighth-placed Cruz Azul and the final play-off spot.
Cellar-dwellers Morelia are also in action against Veracruz on the same day.
Cruz Azul are away to Tigres UNAL, who are six points off top spot in Mexico, on Saturday.
Elsewhere on Saturday, strugglers Puebla and Universidad Guadalajara go head-to-head, Leon are at home to Guadalajara and Chiapas face Santos Laguna.
Meanwhile, Pumas UNAM and Pachuca face off on Sunday.