Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Cruz Azul Fútbol Club, A.C.
Date: Sunday, February 25th
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Oscar Mejia Garcia, AR1: Miguel Ángel Hernández Paredes, AR2: Alejandro Ayala Valderrama, 4TH: José Alfredo Peñaloza Soto
After a frustrating 2-0 loss to Toluca (3W 3D 2L), Santos Laguna (4W 2D 2L) heads back to Torreón looking to get points against a familiar face. Santos will host manager Pedro Caixinha and Cruz Azul (1W 5D 2L), who are looking for their first win in Liga MX play since January 13. Toluca was only the second team to hold Santos scoreless - the other was Tijuana (3W 3D 2L) in one of their six clean sheets on the season.
Despite not scoring last week, Santos forward Djaniny Tavares still leads Liga MX with ten goals in 665 minutes. He and Julio Furch have been one of the most fearsome forward pairings in the league. The duo will pose significant matchup problems for Cruz Azul’s defense, which has conceded nine goals already on the season. Santos will be without the services of Paraguayan striker Cris Martínez, who received a red card late in the match against Toluca last week.
While Cruz Azul has been conceding just over a goal a game (and just under two goals a game in their last four), they’ve also been able to get some decent production at times. Felipe Mora has three goals on the season for La Maquina, however it’s largely been scoring by committee this season. Uruguayan Martín Cauterrucio has been largely disappointing, having failed to contribute a goal or an assist in his four appearances.
Santos will be a tough test for a Cruz Azul side that has looked ready to make a breakthrough lately but hasn’t been able to stay out of their own way. If they can limit the mental mistakes and look at what Toluca did to neutralize Djaniny and Furch then there’s a possibility they can steal at least a point on the road. If they can’t however, it’s a real possibility Tavares and company could be padding their stats.