When Club Tijuana lines up Saturday, it will have an interim coach in the manager’s box.
Across from Raul Chabrand will be a man Tijuana knows well, former Xolos boss Antonio Mohamed.
Mohamed led the young club to success that no manager has been able to match since. Under his watch, Tijuana won a Liga MX title and his players made a serious run at the Copa Libertadores.
“It will be a special game for me and everyone,” midfielder Jose Antonio Madueña told Tijuana’s official website. “I will have mixed feelings about facing the coach that gave me the chance to make my debut and to be a champion with Xolos as well as with Club America.”
Citing family concerns, Mohamed returned to his native Argentina after his success with Xolos but was back in Mexico within the year, leading Club America to a title. He clashed with the directors of the capital club and parted ways after the championship and has arrived at Monterrey.
Winning a third championship with a third team doesn’t look likely this season, but Xolos fans understandably long for the days of Mohamed. Tijuana is a long shot to make the postseason this tournament with Ruben Omar Romano taking control of the team in the summer and leading it to four wins, a draw and eight defeats putting Xolos third from last in the table.
Monterrey, meanwhile, is in a battle to make the postseason and holds on to the final Liguilla spot as things stand. That won’t be enough, though, so Mohamed’s men will be cognizant that they need to see off Tijuana and continue gaining points to advance.
They bring both Rogelio Funes Mori and Dorlan Pabon in attack. The Colombian Pabon scored a stunning equalizer at the death of last weekend’s match against Chiapas. But los Rayados will hope it doesn’t come to that.
For Tijuana’s part, Chabrand deployed many regular starters in Wednesday’s Copa MX shootout defeat to Atlas, though the whole team traveled to Guadalajara before the trip to Monterrey with the knowledge that a two-match road swing awaited. That could see Chabrand make several changes in the side that faced Atlas, though he’s also likely to make some switches from the side that dropped a result to Club America on Friday in Romano’s last match as the team’s manager.