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CONCACAF Champions League | Finals
Jun 2, 2024 at 2.15am UK
Estadio Hidalgo
Columbus Crew

3 - 0
Columbus Crew

Rondon (12', 67'), Rodriguez (32')
Idrissi (45+2')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Pachuca vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's CONCACAF Champions Cup final between Pachuca and Columbus Crew, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Seeking their sixth CONCACAF Champions Cup triumph, Mexican heavyweights Pachuca host MLS side Columbus Crew on Saturday, aiming to celebrate in front of their fans at Estadio Hidalgo.

Not only will the winners be crowned champions of their confederation, but they can also claim a precious place at the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup.

Match preview

Andres Micolta celebrates scoring for Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions Cup semi-finals© Reuters

After Andres Micolta's first-leg goal secured a 1-1 draw in Pachuca's semi-final tie with Club America, the Hidalgo club made the most of home advantage one week later, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes to put one foot in the final.

Los Tuzos eventually emerged 3-2 winners on aggregate, returning to the Champions Cup decider seven years after their last appearance.

En route to Saturday's showpiece occasion, Pachuca easily eliminated Philadelphia Union in the last 16 (6-0 on aggregate) and then CS Herediano of Costa Rica in the quarter-finals (7-1), and they now aim to retain their flawless record in CONCACAF finals.

Having won the 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2017 tournaments, the Mexican side boast significant pedigree at the elite level - and by winning the 59th edition, they would also become one of the confederation's four representatives in next year's Club World Cup.

Guillermo Almada's men lost their last competitive game to America, who took revenge for their Champions Cup exit by winning on away goals in the Liga MX Clausura quarter-finals, but they then made light work of Atletico Morelia in a behind-closed-doors friendly last weekend.

Jacen Russell-Rowe celebrates scoring the winning goal for the Columbus Crew in the CONCACAF Champions Cup© Reuters

While Pachuca will not have played an official fixture for three weeks when the final kicks off, their visitors were in action as recently as Sunday, when Diego Rossi's double secured a 2-0 success over Orlando City in MLS.

Sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference, Columbus Crew have lost just one of their last 13 games across all competitions - picking up six wins and six draws in the process - and are now ranked the top team throughout the whole region.

The latest CONCACAF Club Rankings - based on results in domestic matches, regional cup ties and the Champions Cup - has the Crew at number one, but Wilfried Nancy's side now want to back such status up with some silverware.

They reached the club's first continental final by beating Monterrey 5-2 on aggregate in the semis, with Jacen Russell-Rowe scoring in both legs and Rossi also on target in Mexico.

Winning both games took the Ohio club up to five games unbeaten against Mexican opponents, having previously eliminated quarter-final opponents Tigres UANL on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

MLS Cup champions for only the third time last year, Nancy's squad will now aim to break new ground, becoming the Champions Cup's second American winner and joining Seattle Sounders FC in a new-look Club World Cup hosted across the United States.

Under their French manager's watch, Columbus equalled a club points record and scored an MLS-best 67 regular-season goals last term, and despite drawing more often than they would like this year, they travel south on the back of three straight wins.

Pachuca CONCACAF Champions Cup form:

Pachuca form (all competitions):

Columbus Crew CONCACAF Champions Cup form:

Columbus Crew form (all competitions):

Team News

Erick Sanchez in action for Pachuca at the CONCACAF Champions Cup© Reuters

Reports suggest that influential Pachuca midfielder Erick Sanchez will play his last game for Los Tuzos on Saturday, as a potential move to Europe awaits.

Nonetheless, the Mexico international should line up alongside Oussama Idrissi in the supporting cast for central striker Salomon Rondon, who has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season.

Generally used by coach Guillermo Almada on the left flank, Moroccan winger Idrissi was a revelation in the recent Liga MX Clausura campaign, netting five goals and laying on eight assists.

Meanwhile, star striker Cucho Hernandez has missed the last three Columbus Crew games with a back injury but is still hopeful of playing; Canadian forward Jacen Russell-Rowe remains on standby to fill in up front.

After suffering some injury setbacks of his own, Christian Ramirez will be one of Wilfried Nancy's other attacking options, alongside in-form Diego Rossi, who has recorded four goals and two assists from his last four appearances.

Goalkeeper Evan Bush has been out of action since picking up an arm injury last month, but quarter-final hero Patrick Schulte - who helped the Crew overcome Tigres UANL on spot-kicks at El Volcan - will once more start between the posts.

Pachuca possible starting lineup:
Moreno; L. Rodriguez, Cabral, Micolta, Gonzalez; Pedraza, Deossa; M. Rodriguez, Sanchez, Idrissi; Rondon

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Schulte; Moreira, Camacho, Cheberko; Zawadski, Nagbe, Morris, Yeboah; Hinestroza, Hernandez, Rossi

SM words green background

We say: Pachuca 1-2 Columbus Crew

Due to their fine form and mental toughness under head coach Wilfried Nancy, Columbus Crew can upset hosts Pachuca and succeed Leon as CONCACAF club champions.

The MLS side have proven they will not wilt on Mexican soil - even if altitude must be a factor - while their opponents have essentially been inactive for three weeks and may suffer from some rustiness.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Group A

Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

Q Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

1 Netherlands Netherlands21104
2 France France21104
3 Austria Austria21013
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

1 Romania Romania11003
2 Ukraine Ukraine21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Belgium Belgium10010

Group F

1 Turkey Turkey11003
2 Portugal Portugal11003
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic20111
4 Georgia Georgia20111

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