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The Liga MX has set us up with a dramatic final day of the regular season, with this game being one of the many exciting matches. Atlas are just one point behind eighth-placed Cruz Azul and have a superior goal difference, whereas San Luis are three points behind with a long shot at entering the playoffs.
Cruz Azul face Santos Laguna, who are also hunting for the final playoff spot. Like Santos Laguna, San Luis’ odds of entering the playoffs are slim, but they exist. Pumas UNAM and Queretaro are the other teams that form the chasing pack – both have some tough opponents on the final day.
There’s all to play for in this game, and Atlas will head into the tie as favorites despite San Luis’ home advantage because of their recent form. Atlas have beaten some top teams in recent weeks and look like a side worthy of entering the playoffs. It’s their match to lose.
The two teams have met each other 16 times, with Atlas coming on top eight times, losing four, and drawing four. However, San Luis won the last match between the two teams in September 2022 with a 3-1 scoreline.
San Luis’ second half was decisive enough to win them the tie. Atlas took the lead in the 40th minute, thanks to Christopher Trejo. They took this lead into the second half, but Abel Hernandez changed the trajectory of the game in the 60th minute. Hernandez got his second of the day five minutes later before Zahid Munoz finished things off in the 87th minute.
Atlas took 15 shots to San Luis 10 and had 53% of the possession, but a five-minute passage of play was all it took to crush them. Atlas were incredibly poor last season but still managed to have a greater share of possession and shots on goal than San Luis. If they manage that this time out, they’ll most likely win the tie.
San Luis suffered a significant setback in their playoff hopes with a 2-1 loss to Pachuca over the weekend. They were massive underdogs against the defending champions away from home but showed great spirit to make it a tight game.
Unai Bilbao gave them the lead just before half-time, but Cristian Arango’s equalizer from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute gave Pachuca the momentum. Illian Hernandez’s 84th-minute strike killed the game off.
Pachuca took 20 shots to San Luis’ 10 and had 54% of the possession. There was no doubt regarding who the better team was, but San Luis played their part in a brilliant game. San Luis’ spirit won’t be enough in the upcoming weekend; they’ll need more if they want to beat Atlas over the weekend and qualify for the playoffs.
San Luis needs a lot of favors from other sides to enter the playoffs, which is never ideal. Beating Atlas in this match won’t suffice if Cruz Azul, Santos Laguna, or Queretaro win their matches. San Luis also have a negative goal difference, so if goal difference becomes a deciding factor, they’re unlikely to get a decision their way.
Whatever happens, going forward, they haven’t really looked like a playoff-worthy team this campaign. One of the significant issues has been the attack. They’ve scored just 16 goals this season, which is the joint-lowest in the league.
Their defense has been better – they’ve conceded 21 goals – but it’s not strong enough to suggest they’re a difficult team to break down. However, there’s a sense that if the attack does better, the defense will have less work to do, so strengthening the attack has to be the aim next season.
They’ve won two of their last five games in the league, so there isn’t a wave of momentum suggesting they’ll win this tie either. They’ll need a lot of luck to win this match and enter the playoffs.
An excellent first-half was enough to give Atlas a massive win over Necaxa over the weekend. Atlas won 3-1 on the day, with all their goals coming in the first-half. Brian Lozano opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, and Julian Quinones made it 2-0 two minutes later.
Quinones scored his second just before the half-time whistle to cap off an excellent first half for him and the team. Atlas conceded late in the 82nd minute, but the job was finished by then. Necaxa did well in the second-half and took 17 shots in total, but the game was essentially over in the first-half.
Atlas looked like they had one eye on the final regular season game of the season. The win took Atlas to within one point of Cruz Azul, who currently hold the final playoffs spot.
Atlas are arguably the most in-form team in the league. Club America are the only other team who’ve not lost a league game in their last five matches, which says everything about Atlas’ form.
In recent weeks, they’ve smashed Puebla, Pachuca, and Necaxa and drawn Guadalajara in a 3-3 thriller. Atlas fans will be wondering where this Atlas was earlier in the season and last season. In this sort of form, they’re capable of giving any team in the league a run for their money. Most of the teams that have already qualified for the playoffs will be hoping they can avoid Atlas.
The wins aren’t the only impressive factor in Atlas’ recent form; they’ve also won in style. They scored four past Puebla and Pachuca and three past Necaxa last week. Not to mention, they also beat Olimpia 4-0 in a CONCACAF Champions League match. San Luis will have their hands full on the weekend against this Atlas side.
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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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