Tigres vs. Pumas 2015 Apertura Final
Tigres U.A.N.L. hosts Pumas on Thursday during leg 1 of the 2015 Liga MX Apertura Final. The two teams last met in the championship in 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

It's been exactly one year since Tigres UANL suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Club America in the 2014 Apertura Final at the Estadio Azteca. But, one year later Tigres is back in the title game and America is not. Former Mexican National team head coach Ricardo Ferretti has proven he is one of the top coaches in the world and he will have a second chance to lift Apertura trophy with a strong first leg on Thursday night.

Earlier in the year, Tigres struggled. After a shocking upset to River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final, Ferretti took over the national team during two international friendlies and the ever important CONCACAF Cup final against the United States. Ferretti went undefeated in those three matches, including a draw over Lionel Messi and Argentina. However, his club team paid the price as he was forced to divide his attention away from Tigres.

Once Ferretti returned to Tigres full time and placed the national team in the hands of Juan Carlos Osorio, the Liga MX squad took off and now has the opportunity to win the elusive Apertura trophy.

Standing in their wake however is Pumas UNAM. Pumas was a surprise in the Mexican League this season and finished a top the table, giving them the vital home field advantage in the second leg of the final on Sunday.

First, Tigres gets first shot to make a statement with an impressive performance in the first leg at the formidable Estadio Universitario in Nuevo Leon on Thursday.

Tigres is the strong favorite and we expect them to dominate possession and be aggressive on the offensive attack. Guido Pizarro will control the midfield as he looks for El Tri standouts Javier Aquino and Jurgen Damm on the wings with André-Pierre Gignac up front.

Look for Pumas to play poised and patient as they prepare for counter attacking opportunities. Tigres is strong defensively, but Pumas has a great front four as well led by wingers Fidel Martinez and Ismael Sosa with Eduardo Herrera up top. If Herrera can find space in Tigres zone, he will find the back of the net.

Prediction: 2-0 Tigres U.A.N.L

Betting Favorite: Tigres -1

The game will kick off on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 10:00PM EST at the Esadio Universitario in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. It will air live on Univision and can be live streamed for free here.

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