- Opening clash in final showdown in Mexico City at 10:00 pm ET on Thursday
- Leon favored but Pumas staged stunning semifinal comeback to beat Cruz Azul
- See all the odds and best bets for Liga MX Apertura Finals Leg 1
Favorites Leon will meet Pumas UNAM on Thursday in Mexico’s Liga MX Apertura final first leg after an extra-ordinary upset in the semifinal.
Pumas recovered from a 4-0 deficit following the first leg of the last four clash with Cruz Azul to win the return match by the same score – and advance to the final because of their higher seeding.
Leon’s progress to the final was much more sedate with a 1-0 second-leg win at home against Chivas Guadalajara following a 1-1 first-leg draw.
Pumas UNAM vs Leon Odds
|Pumas UNAM vs Leon||PUM +0.75 (-215) | LEO -0.75 (+163)||PUM +220 | LEO +120 | DRAW +240||Ov 1.5 (+160) | Un 1.5 (-225)|
Odds taken Dec 9 at DraftKings
After finishing top of the regular season table by eight points, Leon are favorites to win the first leg at Pumas HQ at the University Stadium in Mexico City at 10:00 pm ET on Thursday.
At Draftkings, they are priced at +120 for a win with Pumas at +220. The draw is inviting at +240.
The two-legged final has ended up being contested by the teams who occupied the leading two spots in the regular season table.
But Pumas must overcome the form book because Leon have defeated them in each of their last four Liga MX meetings in a run stretching back to February 2019.
Leon Dominant in Regular Season
Before the playoffs began, Leon finished eight points clear of second-placed Pumas.
There was just one defeat in the 18-match regular season for Leon with 12 wins and four draws.
— Club Leon EN (@clubleon_en) December 6, 2020
Then, after a surprise 2-0 setback against Puebla in the quarterfinal, they have subsequently remained undefeated in the following three playoff games.
Pumas will surely believe that anything is possible after their extra-ordinary return from the brink of an exit in the semifinal.
Those statistics along with the team’s reputation for rapid-fire adventurous football explains why they are favorites to lift the title.
But Pumas will surely believe that anything is possible after their extra-ordinary return from the brink of an exit in the semifinal.
⚽ El gol de Juan Pablo Vigón.
The 89th minute goal for Pumas that completed their remarkable comeback from 4-0 down, sending them to the final, and condemning Cruz Azul to another epic collapse.
— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) December 7, 2020
Unsurprisingly, they were given little chance of survival after their 4-0 hammering by Mexico City-based rivals Cruz Azul in the semifinal first leg.
Liga MX Apertura Pumas UNAM vs Leon Statistics
Most fans in Mexico see Pumas as a tough-minded but unexciting side – a fact born out by their regular season record of eight wins, eight draws and one defeat.
However, they ripped into a 3-0 half-time lead in the return game against Cruz Azul.
After Argentine Juan Dinenno scored inside just two minutes, he hit the target again in the 38th minute.
That was followed by a 40th-minute strike from Carlos Gonzales – convincing Pumas that the upset was in sight.
Although Cruz Azul controlled most of the second-half, triumph arrived for Pumas in dramatic fashion with midfielder Juan Pablo Vignon scoring in the 89th minute.
Leon’s forward Joel Campbell played as a lone striker and scored the winner in a 1-0 victory against Chivas Guadalajara in the 18th minute.
The scores were level on aggregate at 4-0 but Pumas advanced as the higher-seeded team in the playoff section of the competition.
In the other semifinal second leg, Leon adopted a more defensive outlook than usual and it paid off.
Good news, Pedro Aquino will be in a Liga MX liguilla final for Leon!!
A chance to get silverware 🏆 pic.twitter.com/SbAuAIlEGw
— Renato the Sun (@renato_sun) December 7, 2020
Their Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell played as a lone striker and scored the winner in a 1-0 victory against Chivas Guadalajara in the 18th minute.
This handed Leon a 2-1 aggregate victory. It also proved that the team is flexible which again explains why they are favorites to win the championship.
Goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota pulled off several significant saves as Leon protected their lead in the second half.
Four Straight Defeats for Pumas
There has been a dominant run for Leon against Pumas lately. In the most recent match last September, Leon were 2-0 winners at home.
There was also a 3-1 win at home in March. In 2019, Leon won at Pumas by 3-1 and 2-1.
🚂 Cruz Azul 4-0 Pumas 🐾
🐾 Pumas 4-0 Cruz Azul 🚂
The first time in #LigaMX history that a team has won the first leg of a Liguilla series by 4 goals and then failed to advance. Great comeback by Pumas, but another embarrassing collapse by Cruz Azul.#Cruzazuleada #LiguillaMX pic.twitter.com/MaULY4MrzO
— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) December 7, 2020
Against that, the last victory for Pumas against Leon in Liga MX was a 2-1 success away from home in September 2018.
Leon last won a Liga MX title when they lifted the Clausura championship in 2014.
Mexico’s league system is split into two annual championships; the Apertura and the Clausura.
For one season, the current Apertura has been re-named as the “Guardianes” to honor the work of the nation’s health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don't think there will be major changes in Liga MX. Feels like league is keen to transcend internationally, but isn't fixed on how to go about it. I struggle to see how Liga MX teams can play a joint competition with MLS, Libertadores and potentially an expanded CCL. #ligamxeng https://t.co/muyjxp69sL
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) December 7, 2020
The last title for Pumas UNAM was the Clausura championship of 2011.
In the quarterfinals, Leon suffered a shock defeat in the first leg when they were beaten 2-1 at Puebla. But they won the return tie 2-0.
Meanwhile, Pumas won 1-0 at Pachuca in the last eight before a 0-0 draw secured their progress to the semifinals.
Sunday’s second leg of the final will kick off at 9:30 pm ET.
Pick: Draw +240
Let's have fun and keep it civil.