Santos Laguna and Mazatlán FC go into the final match of the season with contrasting needs. The home side will remain in the top 4 even if they lose, as long as it is not by a margin of 7+ goals. The away side know that they need a win at all costs to have any chance of making it to the playoffs.
The advantage for Mazatlan, despite their poor form in the league, is that they have had the upper hand in this fixture. They defeated Santos Laguna in the last two meetings and will be out to make it three in a row.
In the meeting earlier this year in Clausura, Gonzalo Sosa scored the lone goal of the match in the first half to seal the win for Mazatlan. Félix Torres was sent off for Santos Laguna in the second half and that ended their chances of making a comeback in the game.
The two sides met in a friendly as well earlier this year and Mazatlan got the win. Nicolás Benedetti and Marco Fabián scored on either side of the break, before Leonardo Suárez pulled one back for Santos Laguna to make it 2-1 in the 70th minute.
The last time Santos won against Mazatlan was in the last meeting in Apertura. Brian Lozano scored the lone goal right at the end of the first half to seal all three points for the home side.
Santos did well in defense and did not allow Mazatlan to have a single shot on goal in the game. They dominated possession as well and took 13 shots in the match.
Santos Laguna are 4th in the table right now and are in a comfortable position. They are three points ahead of 5th placed Tigres UNAL with a +14 goal difference.
They will be able to seal the automatic quarterfinal spot as long as they avoid a defeat against Mazatlan. However, even if they do lose, they have a good chance of making it through as it would require them to lose by 7+ goals and Tigres UNAL winning their final match to cause a dramatic twist in the table.
Santos are on a 4-match unbeaten streak and are up against a side that has managed just three wins this season. They should get the win with ease even if they do rest a few players ahead of the knockout stage.
The added bonus for Santos is that they can also challenge for the 3rd spot on the final day. Pachuca are just a point ahead, and if they drop points, Laguna can leap ahead and seal a 3rd placed finish.
In the last 10 matches, Santos Laguna have lost just twice, and dropped points in two other games. They were beaten by Pachuca earlier this month, and that saw them slip in the table. They other defeat came at the hands of Tigres UNAL in August and they will be hoping that it does not come back to haunt them.
The two draws have come in the last three matches, and both have been 3-3 thrillers. Goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo helped Santos Laguna rescue a point when they faced bottom-placed Queretaro with a goal deep into stoppage time. He went up for the final corner and scored with a header, making amends for his mistake that led to Queretaro’s second goal.
Santos Laguna were 3-1 up against Club America with just three minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately, an own goal from Hugo Rodríguez made it 3-2 and then Federico Viñas scored in the final minute of added time to complete the comeback and seal a point.
Leonardo Suarez has been the best player for Santos Laguna this season and he will be keen on adding more to his tally. He has scored six goals this season and has assisted twice so far.
Ayrton Preciado and Dória are ruled out for Santos Laguna and are unlikely to play this season. Óscar Manzanarez is still doubtful, but should be back in training soon.
Mazatlan were on a good run and just needed to get a couple of wins to seal their place in the playoff spots. However, they have drawn five of their last eight matches and lost twice, making it a last-minute hustle for them to get into the top 12.
The poor run started when they faced bottom placed Queretaro and were held to a 1-1 draw. Oswaldo Alanís had to find the back of the net in the 88th minute to rescue a point from the match for Mazatlan.
Alfonso Sánchez handed them the lead in the next match against Juarez, but despite the home team going down to 10 men, they found a way back. Gabriel Fernández scored right after halftime to make it 1-1 and share the points at the end of the game.
League leaders Club America were up next and they got the better of Mazatlan with ease. Diego Valdés scored an own goal to give the home side the lead but scored at the right end to help the table toppers level things up in the first half. Henry Martín scored right at half time to make it 2-1 and Sebastián Cáceres sealed the win with a goal quickly after the break.
Mazatlan could not do much against Monterrey and were held to a goalless draw. They bounced back well and defeated the reigning champions Atlas, but it was with a single goal. They could not make the most of the away side’s poor form and needed Nicolás Benedetti’s strike in the first half to get all three points.
Cruz Azul were up next and Mazatlan could not carry the momentum into the match. They were beaten 2-0 and still in need of points to get into the top 12.
With three games to go, Mazatlan knew that they needed at last two wins or remain unbeaten to get into the top 12. They have so far done one part right and remained unbeaten in the last two matches.
They held Toluca to a draw earlier this month and then followed it up with another draw against Club Necaxa. Facundo Batista got on the scoresheet twice for them to help his side come back from a goal down twice in the game.
|Teams||Santos Laguna vs Mazatlan FC|
|Location||Estadio TSM Corona|
|Time||Sunday, October 2 at 7:05 pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and
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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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