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Pick: Puebla to win (-145 from Cesars sportsbook)
Puebla might have been the clear favorites to win against Santos Laguna if this game was taking place some time last month.
However, things have changed since for the away side, once languishing near the bottom, who are now getting close to hitting their best.
We do still think Puebla are favorites, but a draw could also be likely in this game as both sides are in similar form but only one – Puebla – will be a little more desperate to take back the top spot.
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Puebla are second in the table while Santos Laguna are lingering below mid-table at 11th.
However, both sides have had similar form lately – 3 wins, a draw, and a loss from their last 5 games – and that might make it a little complex to split the two sides.
Santos Laguna have caused quite a few upsets over the last few weeks, in games where they shouldn’t have had a chance, and clipping the wings of the overachievers this season might feel like now it’s within their grasp.
The two sides met in the Apertura season back in September and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Santos dominated possession in the match, but Puebla managed more attempts at goal. Emanuel Gularte handed the away side the much-needed lead early in the second half, but Alessio Da Cruz leveled things up in the dying minutes of the game for Laguna.
A similar result is expected this weekend, and it would not be a surprise if the same scoreline is repeated. The last time they met at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc was back in May, and the home side picked up a 1-0 win thanks to Santiago Ormeño’s goal in the second half.
Puebla were cruising on top of the table, but things have changed dramatically in the last two weeks.
A draw and a loss in their last three matches has seen Nicolas Larcamon’s side drop 5 points and slip to second in the league table behind Pachuca, who are two points ahead with a game in hand.
To make things worse, they could fall further down if Tigres win their game in hand as well. The only positive is that they will remain in the top 3 for the time being and have to face the teams around them.
Larcamon’s men will be keen on forgetting the loss to Atlético de San Luis last time round as they were the favorites going into that game.
Los Camoteros dominated midfield from start to finish but could not get the better of their opponents. Juan Manuel Sanabria handed the home team an unlikely lead late in the first half, despite them having only around 40 percent of the possession. They managed to hit Puebla on the break and got more shots on target.
After the break, the away side came out all guns blazing and were determined to get all three points from the match. They pinned their opponents back and were around the box for the majority of the time. They managed to pull level in the 88th minute via Martín Barragán, who was on the pitch for just 5 minutes.
The goal put pressure on San Luis, as Puebla pushed intensely for the win, but instead were stunned by a late goal. Efrain Orona scored with the last kick of the game to the delight of the home fans and left Puebla heartbroken at the end of a fairytale run of 9 unbeaten games.
After a poor start to the Clausura season, Santos Laguna have switched gears. They have won three of their last four matches and are surging upwards in the table.
Eduardo Fentanes’s men were winless after the first six matches of the season and had collected just two points. The credit for the late charge in the league has to go to the Mexican manager, who was brought in as the replacement for Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese could not get the results going their way despite changing tactics and his starting XI.
Eduardo has hit the ground running with a simple 4-4-2 style. The Mexican has turned things around for Santos, and now they look set to battle for a place in the top half of the table – a downgrade from the 5th place they finished in the Apertura season, but a significant improvement after the start to the season they had.
They haven’t exactly been lighting up the stage with pretty, possession-based football, but that will be the least of their concerns right now as they are getting much-needed results going their way.
Cruz Azul were the first to face the rejuvenated Santos, and the game was an open battle. Both sides had over 20 attempts at goal and were battling it out for the three points. Harold Preciado scored early for Santos before Azul’s Uriel Antuna had his penalty saved by Carlos Acevedo.
The home side came back stronger after the half and got the equalizer after the hour mark, via José Rivero.
The match looked set to end in a draw, but Diego Medina scored in stoppage time to seal for Santos their first win of the season.
Fentanes’s men earned another win over Pumas UANL in the next game week but could not replicate the performance against CD Guadalajara and ended up losing 1-0. The loss was just a tiny blip as they bounced with a 4-0 win over Club Tijuana and moved above them in the league table.
All in all, they’re a red-hot team in this league at the moment and will be setting out to dent Puebla’s title charge. Check out our soccer betting guides here to get an edge before the game!
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|Teams||Club Puebla vs Santos Laguna|
|Time||Friday, March 18 at 11 pm 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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