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Atlas have got the better head-to-head record with four wins and three losses, but there have also been four draws in the 11 fixtures played between these two sides.
Atlas also play this game at home, which should suggest that they’re the favorites heading into this tie, but Santos Laguna finished the Apertura season with 20 points more than Atlas last season.
Atlas can’t be expected to change their fortunes overnight but they’ve already shown some improvements this season with four points for their first two games. Santos Laguna, on the other hand, have won two of their three games – they seem to have sustained their levels from last season. They should get the three points in this fixture.
The last league game between the two sides was in August 2022. They also played a cup game a few months later that ended in a draw, but the game isn’t the most instructive for the purposes of this piece.
Santos Laguna won the league game 1-0 but were a bit fortunate to get all three points on the day. Juan Brunetta’s 60th-minute strike was the difference between the two sides. Atlas were a credit to themselves on the day, however. They had 54% of the possession and took 17 shots on goal compared to Santos Laguna’s 10. They just couldn’t find the back of the net, and ended up with just three shots on target.
They’ll have to be more clinical if they are to get a result this time around because the Santos Laguna side they’ll be facing on Saturday has improved a lot since that encounter and are on a real high.
Atlas participated in the best game of last week against Querataro. As fun as it must’ve been for the neutral, it’s not something they’ll want to repeat against Santos Laguna.
They took the lead three times but couldn’t hold on in the end. The first lead came in the 22nd minute thanks to Julio Furch before Rodrigo Lopez leveled the scores in the 38th minute. Julian Quinones thought he’d given Atlas a lead before the half-time whistle, but Angel Sepulveda scored a penalty nine minutes into first-half stoppage time to make it 2-2.
Christopher Trejo put Atlast 3-2 up in the 68th minute and they were almost at the finish line before Ettson Ayon scored a late, late equalizer. His strike came nine minutes into second-half stoppage time.
On the one hand, Atlas showed their goal-scoring prowess, but their fragility was also on show. There wasn’t much between the two sides in terms of underlying stats. Atlas had 51% possession and the teams took 15 shots each. It was a fair result in the end, but Atlas would’ve most likely gone home feeling like it was a loss.
Atlas are going to be in recovery mood for most of this season, and the recovery has started well. They only managed 13 points in the Apertura last season. They’ve already managed four in two games. The aim will be to finish the season in a respectable position on the Liga MX table. Anything more will be a bonus.
Having said that, they seem to enjoy playing Santos Laguna. Even when they were struggling last season, they managed to put on a decent display. The way things were last year, even a decent display was a positive. They can do more in this game, however. They have to enter this game with the belief that they can snatch all three points.
Santos Laguna were worthy winners in last week’s game against Mazatlan. It was a fascinating game with both teams showing lots of positives. Mazatlan, in fact, had 54% possession and even took 16 shots, but Santos Laguna had a whopping 23 shots themselves.
Santos Laguna opened the scoring thanks to Juan Brunetta in the 36th minute and took this lead into half-time. Ariel Nahuelpan got one back for the home side in the 62nd minute to level the scores, but Harold Preciado got the winner in the 79th minute to give Santos Laguna all three points.
Santos Laguna will be aware that they weren’t at their best, but still managed to win, which is always a good sign. Their passing was off all game – this was evident in the stats, which showed that they had 78% possession.
Santos Laguna had a horror start to the Clausura season. They lost 3-0 to Tigres UANL on gameweek 1 and also saw a player sent off. They followed that up with a convincing 3-0 victory over Pumas UNAM and a hard-fought victory over Mazatlan.
It was important that they recovered as quickly as possible because the previous season had also ended poorly. After an excellent league season, they were knocked out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals. Suddenly, it looked like the team was in a little rut, but they’ve corrected that now.
They now find themselves in fifth place in the league and have built a foundation to be among the top teams in the league once again. A win against Atlas could see them break into the top-3 or lead the league table after gameweek 4.
These are the standards that they are expected to keep and it’s why they have to get all three points against Atlas. It’s also important to get one over Atlas, who have been a bit of a bogey team for them over the years. A win against a bogey side always helps a team psychologically, and it could do the same for Santos Laguna early in the season.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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