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It wasn’t the best showing for Puebla on Thursday in the first of two legs in the Liga MX semifinals. Up against Santos, Puebla struggled with finishing their chances while Santos capitalized on their own opportunities.
Although Santos only had two more shots than Puebla’s total of 17, Santos were the ones in the end who finished with a statement-making 3-0 victory in the first semifinal leg of the playoffs.
The argument could be made that it was an off day for Puebla.
|For the most part in 2021, they’ve been able to punch above their weight, and although there are no guarantees that they’ll surpass the 3-0 deficit, Puebla should at least be able to clinch a win in the second leg. It may not be enough to guarantee a place in the finals, but there’s no doubt they’ll be the ones who will feel more compelled to find the back of the net.|
|Puebla vs Santos Laguna Information|
|Teams||Puebla vs Santos Laguna|
|Location||Estadio Cuauhtemoc (Puebla, Mexico)|
|Time||Sunday, May 23rd at 8:00pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN|
From a short-term perspective, it might make sense why some Puebla fans would worry about their team.
In their latest 3-0 defeat, they seemed to have serious difficulties with finding the back of the net and had no real answers against Santos, who now appear destined to surpass them in the Liga MX playoffs.
But maybe it isn’t all doom and gloom.
Puebla had their chances, and on another day in which they followed through on a chance or two, we might have had an entirely different narrative about the result.
Keeping in mind that Santos did end up giving up a surprising amount of chances, could a win for Puebla still be in the cards?
Let’s talk numbers.
On paper, a 3-0 win for Santos looks like a massive and one-sided win. With a shutout and three more goals than the opposition, it’s tempting to say that this was a convincing result.
And yet, when glancing at the statistics, it’s quite obvious that this match was closer than what the scoreline indicated.
With 19 shots in the game, Santos only collected two more than their rivals who finished with a total of 17.
In general, Puebla have been more efficient in 2021 when it comes to finding the back of the net, and with more goals in the regular season than Santos, a resurgence could be near…
Credit to manager Nicolas Larcamon. At just 36 years of age, the Argentine has quickly made Puebla one of the more exciting teams of the 2021 Clausura tournament.
And most importantly, he also rarely falters for extended periods of time.
So far in the current season, Puebla have never lost two games in a row and tend to immediately bounce back from results.
Larcamon has made this roster a well-oiled machine, and when setbacks have emerged, he typically solves them in a rapid fashion.
It would be understandable for Santos to sit further back — we’ve seen it before this month in the playoffs.
After claiming an early 2-1 lead over Monterrey in the first leg of the Liga MX playoff quarterfinals, Santos took a more cautious role that allowed their opponents to outshoot them 17 to 8.
The decision was a practical one, and although it ended up meaning that they allowed two goals, expect Santos to do the same in the second leg against Puebla after taking a 3-0 lead.
Which isn’t to say that Santos will be knocked out of the playoffs.
Instead, it simply makes sense as to why Puebla could narrowly miss out while also claiming a close victory.
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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