Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
Date: Sunday, April 6th
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.)
Series record: Tigres won the first leg 2-0 in Monterrey on Thursday. Santos needs to score two more than Tigres in order to advance to the semifinal round, as the home side is the higher seed. Away goals do not count.
Since starting the season at a torrid pace, Santos Laguna has cooled off over the past month. Once looking like comfortable favorites for the Superlider, they limped into the playoffs as the fourth seed. Their backs are firmly against the wall as they return home to try and get two goals against Tigres.
Guerreros should not lose all hope though. Santos return to Estadio Corona TSM, where they lost only one match during the Liga MX regular season. They will also get Osvaldo Martínez back, as he picked up a red card in the final match of the regular season against Club América.
Santos will need to be better on defense though, as Tigres’ attacking options are as dangerous as ever. André-Pierre Gignac converted a penalty and had several good attempts on goal in the first leg, and any team with players like Enner Valencia, Jürgen Damm, and Eduardo Vargas has to be respected. Not having Néstor Araujo will be a big blow; although Gerardo Alcoba is an accomplished center back, Santos seems to be missing more than just a center back. Araujo brings an intangible quality.
Tigres shouldn’t need to rely on their offense though. They start with the clear advantage and should look to retain their lead rather than try to add much to it. Santos’ offense is every bit as dangerous as Tigres’, however as recent history has shown they can be stopped.