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Santos Laguna have finally managed to get some wins but are going to need a miracle to beat Pachuca. The 13th placed side are not in the playoff spots yet, as they are behind Pumas UNAM on goal difference.
The last time Santos Laguna defeated Pachuca was back in 2017. They won 1-0 in the Clausura leg of that season thanks to Djaniny and their opponents going down to 10 men after Hirving Lozano was given marching orders for violent conduct.
However, Pachuca have not done exceptionally well against Santos in their recent games. They have picked up just four wins in the last ten meetings between these two sides. The meetings have not seen a lot of goals, with 2+ goals scored in just 3 of those last ten games.
Things could be different this time around, given the two sides’ form. Pachuca have scored three goals in 4 of their last seven matches in Liga MX, and are the only side in the league right now who have won each of their last five games. We think this will be a sixth in a row for them as they continue a fairytale run that not many expected of them.
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Early on, Santos Laguna was struggling this season and was just unable to get the wins. They were close to rock bottom on the table, but their results in the last five matches have seen them rise up.
Their elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League at the hands of CF Montreal saw them shift focus entirely to the league. Just three days after their loss to the MLS side, Santos channeled their hurt into a dominant display against Cruz Azul and picked up their first win of the season, a 2-1 win away on the seventh matchday. Harold Preciado scored after just five minutes, and Carlos Acevedo made a stunning save to deny Azul’s Uriel Antuna from the spot. The momentum was all in their favor, but José Rivero equalized in the second half.
The bottom-placed side did not give up and started hitting Azul on the counters. Diego Medina finally managed to get past the defense and slotted home the winner in the 94th minute of the game.
They carried that momentum into their next match, where they faced Pumas UNAM. Santos fought well despite going 1-0 down after 37 minutes via an Arturo Ortiz goal. An own goal from Leonel López saw them go into the break on level terms, and they were in control of the game.
A dramatic 6 minutes in the game saw the pendulum shift swiftly. Santos took the lead in the 73rd minute from Fernando Gorriarán’s penalty before Juan Dinenno leveled things up in the 78th minute. Harold Preciado was alert seconds after the restart, and Santos managed to go back in the lead in the very next minute, before managing to hold on for the win.
They could not replicate the performance against CD Guadalajara, where Santos Laguna ended up losing 1-0. José Macías scored the lone goal of the game after the hour mark, and Dória was sent off in the final minute of the game to add insult to injury in a game where both teams only managed to get one shot each on target.
Eduardo Fentanes’s side were now confident in all their games, whether the points were coming or not, and showing the fight he wanted. He had turned things around for the side that was struggling under Pedro Caixinha. Santos thrashed Club Tijuana 4-0 to climb further up the table before holding 2nd placed Puebla to a 2-2 draw thanks to two late goals from Eduardo Aguirre and Leonardo Suárez.
There is fight in this team, and they don’t go down easily, but we don’t think it will be particularly easy for them to do it against the current league leaders this weekend.
Pachuca lost to Club Leon in-game week three and have not looked back since. They have won all their games – five in total – since then, except for their clash with Queretaro, which ended in a 2-2 draw. The aim is simple for the league leaders – keep the winning run going.
Despite their fine form, they have no breathing space as Tigers UNAL are just two points behind. The side sitting second have also lost just once this season, and any slip up from Pachuca could see them in danger of losing the top spot, with Puebla not too far behind either. Guillermo Almada will need his players to keep their focus with just seven games to go, including the one against Santos Laguna this weekend.
The good news for Almada is that his players are able to get the results going their way, even when the performance is not up to par. Two of their last three games have seen them struggle to get past the opponent’s solid defense. This is often the case when a season gets into the second half, with most sides having observed the leaders’ tactical patterns.
Against Atlas at the start of March, Pachuca needed a late goal from Roberto de la Rosa to get the three points. The opponents were down to 10 men in the first half, but Almada’s men could not take advantage and run away with the game. They did have 26 shots in the game, but only five were on target – Roberto getting the crucial one in the 87th minute that sealed the win.
That was not the case against Cruz Azul in their game just before the international break, when they got on the sheet within 18 minutes of the game start. However, they did have to settle for a 1-0 win, and Erick Sánchez’s goal early in the first half proved to be the only one. Pachuca are looking unstoppable, however, being the team that has scored the most this season – 21 goals – and conceded the fewest – joint with Atlas on 8 goals.
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|Santos Laguna vs Pachuca Information
|Santos Laguna vs Pachuca
|Estadio Nuevo Corona
|Sunday, April 3 at 8pm EST
|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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