Nicolas Ibáñez: Toluca stands as favorites ahead of Liga MX Apertura final

Lizzy Becherano
Nicolas Ibanez is cautious not to underestimate Toluca ahead of Apertura final.
Nicolas Ibanez is cautious not to underestimate Toluca ahead of Apertura final. / Jam Media/GettyImages

Pachuca is set to visit Toluca for the first leg of the 2022 Liga MX Apertura final on Thursday, after defeating Tigres and Monterrey to reach the championship series.

The team concluded the regular season in fourth, qualifying directly into the playoff tournament’s quarterfinals, before becoming the underdogs to beat. But despite recent triumphs, Pachuca forward Nicolás Ibáñez will not rule out Toluca’s potential to win the final, adding the Red Devils were strong enough to win over Club America and “eliminate the one who was supposedly already champion.”

“As for the favorite, I don't think so, because Toluca eliminated the one who was supposedly already champion or was on his way to being champion, that has a lot of merit. It's going to be a very even final, where we're both going to try to play and be aggressive, hopefully it'll be a great show.”

Ibáñez played an integral role in the team’s 2022 Apertura success, scoring 14 goals to lead Pachuca to yet another Liga MX final. The team last featured in the championship game in the 2022 Clausura, but lost to back-to-back winners Atlas. 

Now, the Argentinian striker insists players are eager to get back to the high stakes match. 

“We are really looking forward to it, very excited because we just lost the last Final and well, on the first day of preseason we set out to fight again among the first places and be able to play another Final. Thank God it is being given to us, we are going to do our best to achieve it.

“It would be a very nice thing [to win the championship], apart from remaining in the history of the club, that is something very nice that can happen to anyone, any player dreams of playing in a Final, there are many with great careers who did not have the opportunity, it is being given to us, we have to make the most of it.”

Though Nacho Ambriz’s side will not make it an easy feat, Ibáñez insists Pachuca is ready.