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Our pick: Club America to win
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In their last five matches, Club America have won four and drawn one. They beat Queretaro FC 2-1 before Toluca held them to a 1-1 draw. After that, the 13-time Liga MX champions have beaten Pumas UNAM, CF Pachuca, and Mazatlan FC.
Santos Laguna’s recent form has been turbulent, with three losses and two wins in the last five games. After beating Pumas UNAM, the club faced back-to-back defeats against CF Pachuca and Necaxa. They clinched three points against Tijuana but dropped all three against Club Leon.
The bookmakers have understandably backed the hosts in this encounter. A Club America win is indeed the most probable outcome, but it will be anything but an easy task for the 13-time Liga MX champions because Santos Laguna will be desperate to get back into the playoff qualification zone.
There is a lot of history between these two clubs, who have met 34 times in Liga MX since 2010. Club America have the better record with 17 wins, while Santos Laguna have nabbed victories on just nine occasions. Eight matches have ended in draws.
The last meeting between these two clubs came in the 2023 Clausura season. Playing in their own backyard, Santos Laguna took charge with two goals from Harold Preciado and Javier Correa in the first half.
The lead was halved before the break when Henry Martin converted from the spot in the eighth minute of first-half stoppage time. Parity was restored six minutes from time by Roger Martinez. Lucas Gonzalez was shown a straight red in the 90th minute, as the hosts finished ten men.
A record-extending 14th Liga MX title is in the crosshairs of Club America as the playoff phase inches closer. With just five games to go in the regular league season in the current Apertura campaign, Club America are in possession of a five-point lead at the top of the table.
Not only has the club established a decent gap between themselves and the defending champions Tigres UANL in second place, but they also have stated their title-winning intent in multiple games against other title contenders.
Club America have dominated this fixture since the beginning, and the circumstances have not changed in recent times. Santos Laguna’s last win against the hosts came in the 2019 Apertura season when the visitors clinched a come-from-behind win at Estadio Azteca.
However, after that encounter, these two sides have met six times, and Santos have failed to register a single win in those matches.
The attacking department has experienced no concerns this season. The club has not relied solely on veteran Martin for goals, as Diego Valdes and Julian Quinones have joined the party.
In ten appearances, Valdes has scored six goals and nabbed a couple of assists. Meanwhile, Quinones has five goals and four assists in 11 appearances.
Santos Laguna have dropped out of the playoff qualification zone at the wrong time. Despite being just a point off the final qualification spot, the upcoming fixtures are expected to be quite challenging for the visitors.
After Club America, the club will go up against the mercurial FC Juarez and Mazatlan FC. After that, they will take on Toluca and CF Monterrey before ending their season away against former league leaders Atletico de San Luis.
Santos Laguna will be thankful to have players like Preciado and Juan Brunetta. The duo has scored 12 out of their club’s 17 league goals this season. Preciado has netted eight goals in 11 appearances.
Meanwhile, Brunetta has been an exceptional player in midfield, popping up with six assists and four goals in 11 appearances. Three of those assists have come in the last four games and the Argentine is hungry for more.
Just 14 minutes into the game against Club Leon, Felix Torres was shown a straight red for a cynical foul on Brian Rubio. The defender has been a key part of the Santos Laguna defense and has also scored two goals.
However, he will miss the crucial encounter against Club America, leaving the Santos defense vulnerable against what is probably the best attacking team in Liga MX this season.
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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