In the 2011 Clausura Liguilla, Cruz Azul and Monarcas Morelia faced off in a fantastic semifinal tie. Unfortunately, a very good football match was marred by two separate brawls that caused Jesus Corona and 'Chaco' Cristian Gimenez to be suspended for six games apiece. Morelia advanced from that tie, then lost to UNAM Pumas in the final.
Cruz Azul have had a better season and are the arguably deeper team, but Morelia are a team in fantastic form. They haven't lost in over a month and went on a fantastic run to get up into Liguilla after sitting outside of the top eight for the entire season. Cruz Azul have been near the top all year, but have struggled to score at times and were lucky to stay in Copa Libertadores places.
The Blue Machine will get Alejandro Castro back from injury, which might be more of a curse than a blessing. Enrique Meza has a bit of a tendency to outsmart himself and might end up thinking a bit too hard about his formation before this game. Cruz Azul has played 5-4-1, 4-4-1-1 and 4-4-2 at various points this season, depending on opponent and available personnel.
Morelia has some problems at the back, as former Cruz Azul man Joel Huiqui is suspended. Mauricio Romero is still hurt, so Morelia is without two experienced central defenders. Mexican international Antonin Aldrete is returning from injury and may be asked to play in the center of defense instead of at his preferred left back position. Tomas Boy could also ask defensive midfielder Yasser Corona to join the back line, playing Aldrete at left back and moving Jorge Gastelum Ocampo back into midfield.
Cruz Azul vs. Monarcas Morelia kicks off at 8:00 pm ET and can be seen on Azteca TV in the USA. We'll have live coverage of this and every Liguilla match this weekend in our Mexican Primera, 2011 Apertura Liguilla Quarterfinals StoryStream. For more on the two teams and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican futbol blog FMF State Of Mind.