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Atlético de San Luis to win or draw, both teams to score
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Atlético de San Luis have faced Santos Laguna nine times in history and won just twice. They have ended up on the losing side four times in those fixtures and will be looking to avoid another defeat.
In the league, the two sides have met 5 times, with Laguna winning thrice and San Luis picking up just one win. The only draw in the league occurred last year when they met in Clausura, and the game ended goalless.
The lone win for San Luis came last year when they met in Clausura. Nicolás Ibáñez scored the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, and there were more red cards in the games than goals. Santos Laguna’s Félix Torres and San Luis’s Diego Pineda were given the marching orders in the dying minutes of the game for violent conduct.
However, recent form and the fact that they cannot be usurped from the playoff qualification spots will give San Luis the edge in this fixture that Santos Laguna not only need to win, but might need to manage one with a very big margin. We expect both teams to score.
Atlético de San Luis have made it to the playoffs after struggling for results at the start of the season. They have managed to collect 23 points in their 16 matches – guaranteeing them a finish in the top 10 unless 11th placed Leon can manage a win with at least a six-goal margin in their game against playoff hopefuls Toluca.
Likewise, even if they lose this weekend, they will finish where they are as they have a superior goal difference to Club Leon – the only side that can match their points tally. However, if they pick up a win, they have an outside chance of making it to fifth, even if that is highly unlikely. For that to happen, they would need to pick up the three points and hope that Club Necaxa, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Cruz Azul, and Club America drop points.
The change in fortunes started in February after André Jardine took over from Marcelo Méndez. The change in manager started off well with a win over Club America, but they went on to lose back-to-back games against Toluca and Tigres UNAL.
Jardine was working to find the right system for his players, and he finally managed to get the right combination. The switch to 4-5-1 got them a win over Monterrey and a draw against Guadalajara.
They followed it up with the unlikely win over Puebla – a side that was in top form at that time. Juan Manuel Sanabria scored in the first half before Martín Barragán equalized for Puebla with 2 minutes on the clock. San Luis’ players did not give up and got the win in the 96th minute thanks to a goal from Efrain Orona.
They could not replicate the performance against Querétaro and ended up losing 2-1 after Rubens Sambueza missed his penalty early in the game.
San Luis did well to bounce back in the next match and got the win over Mazatlan. Jhon Murillo scored the lone goal of the game, and the confidence was back among the players.
Club Tijuana frustrated them in the next match and took the lead via Lisandro López. However, they did not give up, and Facundo Waller scored the equalizer with just minutes left on the board.
Club Leon were up next for Jardine’s men, and the game saw one of their best performances of the season. They did not have a lot of the ball but managed more shots on target and got two goals as well. Germán Berterame scored early in the game, and Jhon Murillo sealed the win midway through the second half.
Once again, they could not carry the momentum into the next match and ended up losing 4-2 to Club Necaxa. Germán Berterame was again on the scoresheet with a brace, but goals from braces from Milton Giménez and Rodrigo Aguirre saw the home side run away with the game.
Needing at least six points from the last three matches to qualify for the playoffs, San Luis managed to lap them up in the first two matches. They defeated Pumas UNAM 2-0 and then followed it up with a 1-0 win over Cruz Azul. It was the first time they were winning back-to-back games this season, which helped them seal the playoff spot.
Santos Laguna do not have their fate in their own hands as they need more than a win to get into the playoffs. If they drop points, the playoff hopes end right there, but even with a win, they could end up finishing outside the top 12.
A win in their final game of the season would see them finish with 20 points. The good news for them is that Pumas UNAM, who sit in the last spot with 19 players, play league leaders Pachuca while the side right above them, Toluca, play top chasers, Puebla. Mazatlán play Puebla in the last round, who led the table for more than half the season before falling to third, and that is another positive for them. Still, they have a lot going against them, including a less-than-desirable goal difference of negative 2.
Club Leon, Pumas UNAM, and Santos Laguna could end up with 20 points each, and if that happens, Pumas will seal the final spot as they have a positive goal difference.
Santos Laguna have only themselves to blame for being in such a tough situation right at the very end, as they have had multiple chances to move up the table in recent weeks.
They drew against Club Leon and Queretaro in 2 of their last three matches – dropping 4 points that could have easily got them in the playoff spots right now. Moreover, they lost 1-0 to Mazatlan, and that helped their opponents move above them in the league table and put themselves in a better position for the playoffs.
Santos have won just 4 matches this season and lost 7 times. They were not great in the Apertura too and picked up just 5 wins, but were able to finish 5th as they have lost just three matches. This time around, they have lost way too many games, and that has hurt their chances of finishing in the top 12.
Their forward, Harold Preciado, has been the lone bright spark for them this season as he has scored 6 goals. He has not been supported enough by his teammates, and the defense is one of the main reasons they have suffered in the league. With 24 goals conceded in 16 matches, they have the second worst defensive record.
Eduardo Fentanes will be hoping that his players give their best this weekend, and they somehow qualify for the playoffs against all odds; but even he’ll know that this is more likely to be the end of their season than a match that progresses them.
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|Atlético de San Luis vs Santos Laguna Information|
|Teams||Atlético de San Luis vs Santos Laguna|
|Location||Estadio Alfonso Lastras|
|Time||Sunday, May 1 at 7pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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