Cruz Azul to win or draw
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Cruz Azul and San Luis are comfortably in the playoff places but still have a lot to play for. Both sides are yet to secure their places and could slip out of the top 12 if they are not careful.
Cruz Azul are 7th right now and will need a win to have any chance of making it to the top 4. The three points this weekend would take them to 4th – the position that will earn them an automatic qualification to the quarter-finals.
San Luis are 10th in the league and in danger of slipping out of the playoffs if they drop points from either of their last two games. They have 20 points from 15 games so far and are just a point above 12th placed Club Leon, who sit in the final playoffs spot. Toluca, who are 13th, are looking to make the most of any side slipping up and can go above San Luis if they win this weekend, and San Luis don’t.
The previous meeting between these two sides ended in a goalless draw, and it was the first time ever they shared points while playing against each other. Cruz Azul have won three of the five meetings, while San Luis have won just once.
On current form, it’s San Luis who are the better team. But they are also the team that has to do all the heavy lifting in this fixture, given it is their penultimate league game of the season. Doing so away against Cruz Azul, who still have three games to go as they push for a quarter-final spot, will be a hard ask. We think the home side will avoid loss here.
Cruz Azul have slipped up in recent weeks, and that has resulted in them not making the most of the others dropping points. They have one more golden chance to make it to the top 4, and they need to turn this one into a win to get there.
Azul have not been at their best in the last eight matches and have picked up just two wins. They have lost four in that time and only managed draws in the others.
They made a good start to the season with four wins and a draw in their first six matches. But since then, their form has been all over the place, and it has resulted in them slipping down the table after once being early contenders to finish first.
Since the loss to Santos Laguna, Azul have found it hard to pick up points. Harold Preciado scored early in the game for Santos before José Rivero equalized in the second half. The game was heading for a draw, but Diego Medina’s late goal saw Laguna run away with all three points.
Azul went on to draw their next match against Tigres UANL, and that was one of their best results of the season. They were 2-0 down after the first 30 minutes because of goals from André-Pierre Gignac and Juan Vigón. However, Luis Abram’s goal in injury time of the first half changed the momentum. José Rivero managed to seal the point deep into injury time of the second half, but the display in the final 45 minutes was brilliant and a sign of a team that was here to compete.
They could not replicate that against Puebla immediately after, however, and ended up losing 3-1. Fernando Aristeguieta scored twice in the first half, but Juan Escobar got one between the Puebla’s star’s goals. Aristeguieta completed his hat-trick in the second half, and Azul had no reply.
Azul bounced back with a win over Pumas UNAM after putting up a fight. They took the lead via Luis Abram, but Pumas managed to get level within seconds thanks to Favio Álvarez’s goal straight from kickoff. Juan Escobar was on the scoresheet again for the home side, and that was enough to see them pull off a 2-1 win.
Pachuca, who are set to finish on top of the table, were matched well by Cruz Azul, but the league leaders stole the three points. Erick Sánchez scored early in the game, and the away side had no response to it.
Since then, they have won against Atlas and lost to Guadalajara, and drawn to Mazatlan. That is, to say, there’s no telling which version of Cruz Azul shows up at any point this season. They’re capable of ending up a top 4 team, but have only themselves standing in the way of that.
San Luis were down and out after the six games as they had picked up just three points. They were one of the rock-bottom sides, and nobody expected them to go on a good run and make it to the playoffs.
But San Luis have won five of their last nine games and lost just twice. The change in fortunes started with their win over Monterrey, and they have not looked back since. Jhon Murillo and Abel Hernández scored in that win, even though they did not have a lot of possession.
Despite going 2-0 up early in the game, they drew to Guadalajara in their next match. Their defending in the second half was not up to the mark, and the away side took full advantage and walked away with a point.
Puebla were on top of their game when they visited San Luis, and they were stunned. Juan Manuel Sanabria scored in the first half to hand the home side an unlikely lead before Martín Barragán equalized with just minutes left. San Luis did not give up, though, and went for the win that they sealed deep into injury time, thanks to Efrain Orona.
They did lose to Queretaro and Club Necaxa in the following games, but the wins over Mazatlan, Club Leon, and Pumas have given them a lot of confidence to finish in the playoff spots. They have an outside chance of making it to the top 4, but a lot needs to go their way, and they will need to win both the matches left in the season. That is, perhaps, what will be on their minds as they head into this fixture, but the stakes are high and there will be pressure on them that could restrict them to just trying to seal a top 12 finish.
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|Cruz Azul vs San Luis Information|
|Teams||Cruz Azul vs San Luis|
|Time||Sunday, April 24 at 6pm EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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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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