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Towards the end of September, Mazatlan FC returned with all three points from Guadalajara after a convincing 3-1 win. After that, they suffered back-to-back losses at home against Tigres UANL and Club America. The club was quick to bounce back, as they registered a second successive away win of the campaign against Atlas FC before blanking Queretaro FC at home in the last match.
It has rained goals in many of Santos Laguna’s league fixtures this season. After suffering a humiliating 5-2 defeat against Necaxa at home, Santos registered a 2-1 win against Club Tijuana at the start of October. After that, the club lost two on the trot, 2-0 at home against Club Leon and 4-3 away at Club America. In the last match, there was respite and relief as the playoff qualification hopes stayed alive with a stunning 5-1 win against FC Juarez.
Mazatlan FC have been quite mercurial this season and are chasing playoff qualification after disappointing outcomes over the last two seasons. Santos have the same goal and a better chance, as they have a game in hand. However, this game has a stalemate written all over it.
The two teams have clashed on six occasions in Liga MX. Santos Laguna dominate this fixture as they emerged victorious on four occasions. Mazatlan have only defeated Santos once, and that win came in the 2022 Clausura season.
In three visits to the Estadio de Mazatlan, Santos have won just once. That win came in the previous encounter when Juan Brunetta’s opening goal put the visitors in front. Ariel Nahuelpen restored parity before Harold Preciado scored the winner in the 78th minute.
Mazatlan are one of the genuine contenders in the playoff qualification pursuit in the 2023 Apertura season. The club is in this position for the first time after the 2022 Clausura campaign when they snatched the final playoff spot after finishing level on points with Club Leon.
The hosts are just two points off the final qualification spot, and a positive result against Santos will give them a huge boost, as Mazatlan are expected to win their next game against Necaxa. The regular season ends with a tricky clash against Toluca.
After blanking Queretaro FC 3-0 in their previous encounter, Mazatlan secured back-to-back wins in Liga MX for the first time since the 2022 Apertura season.
The hosts have scored six goals in the last two games and are looking to build on the positive momentum and try to get a positive result against Santos.
Mazatlan signed Ake Arnaud Loba from Major League Soccer (MLS) side Nashville SC in January this year. In the 2023 Clausura season, the Ivorian scored two and assisted as many in 12 appearances.
In the 2023 Apertura season, the 25-year-old has taken things to the next level and has scored six and assisted one in seven starts. He has also made three substitute appearances and is eying more goals.
Santos Laguna have a great chance to propel themselves into the qualification zone as the club is one point off the final playoff qualification spot with a game in hand. A win in this match will lift the club from 11th to ninth in the 2023 Apertura table.
However, the final three fixtures of the regular season will be anything but a cakewalk for Santos. After Mazatlan, the club will host high-flying Toluca and then visit a staunch CF Monterrey side before concluding their regular season against former league leaders San Luis.
After winning just one out of five games away from home this season, Santos have the joint-worst away record in Liga MX this Apertura season.
The club has lost three and drawn one of their last four away games, and their only away victory of the current Apertura campaign came in July against Club Puebla.
Santos Laguna have heavily relied on Harold Preciado and Juan Brunetta for success over the past few seasons. Preciado finished as their top scorer in the 2023 Clausura campaign, and Brunetta finished with the most assists.
This season, Preciado has scored ten goals in 13 appearances, while Brunetta has bagged seven goals and eight assists in 13 matches. The South American duo is expected to get on the scoresheet again at Estadio de Mazatlan this Wednesday.
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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