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Santos Laguna are currently fourth and dropped a couple of points in their last encounter against Atlas FC
Club America are currently seventh and registered their first win of the season against Mazatlan FC last week
The two sides shared the spoils after a six-goal thriller when they last met in the Apertura 2022 league phase
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Santos Laguna were handed a 3-0 defeat by Tigres UANL at the start of the Clausura season after which the side bounced back with two wins on the trot against Pumas UNAM and Mazatlan FC. Last week, they dropped points again after a 2-2 draw against Atlas FC.
Club America’s start of the season has been surreal as the 13-time champions kicked off their campaign with three draws against Queretaro, Toluca, and Puebla. The frustrating run came to a jubilant end last week when they thrashed Mazatlan FC 6-0.
In the clash of two title contenders, the scales are tipping in favor of Club America, who will be hungry for another win that will move them further up on the table. Santos Laguna are a tough nut to crack, but they are unlikely to keep the Club America attack at bay.
In 31 Liga MX encounters between the two sides, Santos Laguna have emerged victorious on nine occasions. Club America, on the other hand, have 16 wins under their belt with six games ending in a draw.
Spectators witnessed a thrilling 3-3 draw when these two sides clashed at the Estadio Azteca in the Apertura 2022 season. Santos Laguna were in possession of a 3-1 lead till the 87th minute. A Hugo Rodriguez own goal cut the deficit to one before Federico Vinas’ 97th-minute equalizer saw Club America snatch a point from the game.
At the Estadio Nuevo Corona, in the last five encounters, Club America have only lost once. They have won two and drawn the other two. On their last visit during Clausura 2022, Club America won 3-2.
No team in football wants to play for a draw but in this game, a tie will not turn out to be a bad result for the hosts. While Club America will be trying to steer clear of drawing their fourth game of the season already, Santos Laguna have a chance to frustrate them by handing them exactly what they are trying to avoid.
After four games, Santos Laguna are only two points off the top of the table. After playing Club America, Santos Laguna will have a couple of less competitive games against FC Juarez and Atletico de San Luis where they can pick up points.
Santos Laguna have not beaten Club America in the last five meetings so they will have to come up with something special if they intend to nick all three points off the 13-time Liga MX champions.
During the Apertura 2022 league phase, Santos Laguna played nine games at the Estadio Nuevo Corona. They won eight out of those nine games and drew one without losing a single game during the entire league phase.
This season, they lost that record on day one. However, they have bounced back well after the opening-day debacle. In any case, coach Eduardo Fentanes will do everything in his power to avoid the outcome of last year.
In the Clausura 2022 season, Santos Laguna won only five out of 17 games and failed to qualify for the playoffs after finishing 14th in the league table.
Santos Laguna have scored seven goals in four games so far. Six of these have been scored by their wingers. Diego Medina, Juan Brunetta, and Harold Preciado have all scored two goals this season.
Additionally, Preciado has also registered a couple of assists making him the leading goal contributor at the club this season. Brunetta has also managed to pocket an assist for himself. The menacing wing play is likely to be on display against Club America as well.
Four games into the new season and Club America have already dropped six points after three consecutive draws. However, the 13-time Liga MX champions are now looking sharp after their commanding win over Mazatlan FC last week.
Club America were 4-0 up at the break against a hapless Mazatlan FC side before adding two more to the tally in the second half. The resounding victory made Club America’s intent clear. The Aguilas are expected to come out all guns blazing in almost all games.
If coach Fernando Ortiz comes up with a tactic that nullifies the attacks from the flank against Santos Laguna, more than half of his job will be done. The rest of it will rely on Club America’s front line. The strikers will have to be clinical while the defense deflects Santos Laguna's attacks.
Henry Martin scored half of the six goals Club America scored against Mazatlan FC last week. The striker has now scored five goals and registered two assists in just four games so far. In the Apertura 2022 season, Martin scored 13 goals and assisted six.
The new milestone for the 30-year-old will be to reach a higher number this season and he is off to a perfect start to achieve that goal. The Mexican striker has either scored or assisted in the last three Clausura games.
However, on an off-day for Martin, Club America could land themselves in trouble. Hence, more contributions will be expected from Alex Zendejas and Diego Valdes. Both players have a goal and an assist under their belt and will surely add to their respective tallies.
As the front line prepares to go out all guns blazing, the defense will have to be on its toes to thwart multiple counter-attacks. The defensive duo of Sebastian Caceres and Nestor Araujo were solid at the back last week and will be hoping to replicate the same performance in the next game.
Caceres finished the game with a passing accuracy of 92%. He made six clearances and three recoveries and won five duels. His partner Araujo made two blocks, six clearances, two interceptions, and ten recoveries. He was involved in three ground duels and won all of them.
Araujo also won two out of three aerial duels and finished the match with a passing accuracy of 90%. This astute defensive performance came without committing a single foul.
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Teams: Santos Laguna vs Club America
Location: Estadio Nuevo Corona
Time: Saturday, February 4 at 10:05 pm ET onwards
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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