MEXICO CITY (AP) – UNAM Pumas will start the Mexican league final against Morelia on Thursday as firm favorites to win the title for a seventh time.
Pumas was unbeaten in the first 11 matches of the regular season and finished second overall. The Mexico City club also dispatched defending champion Monterrey and Chivas of Guadalajara to make the final.
''We are not going to betray our style, we know the way we've been playing for a while now and we are going to try to impose our style on the two games that are left,'' said Pumas defender Efrain Velarde, scorer of two playoff goals.
The first leg is in Morelos Stadium on Thursday, with the return in Pumas' Ciudad Universitaria Stadium on Sunday.
Pumas has made the final three times in the last four years and reached the Clausura's climax despite changing coaches at the beginning of the year when Guillermo Vazquez replaced Ricardo Ferreti.
''We've worked hard all tournament for this opportunity to dispute the championship,'' said Pumas forward Javier Cortes. ''The team is motivated and we are going to do everything we can to win the two matches.''
Morelia, which finished third in the regular season, will be handicapped without coach Tomas Boy and striker Miguel Sabah, who have been suspended for their parts in a fight during the semifinal against Cruz Azul.
Boy was punished with a six-match ban, while Sabah was hit with a three-game suspension after a supporter ran onto the pitch and provoked a violent free-for-all.
Morelia won that game 3-0 to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.
''Turning results around has been a constant,'' said coach Boy. ''At home we will have to play good football because we are against a highly qualified adversary, the second-best visitor in the regular season, and the final will be very even, but my players are very switched on and keen to transcend.''
Pumas had a 1-0 win against Morelia in the 10th round in the regular season and have not lost to Morelia since February 2009.