Game: Club de Fútbol Lobos de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, January 6th
Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Pacific, 9:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Universitario BUAP (Puebla, Pue.)
Referees: REF: Mario Humberto Vargas Mata, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Jose de Jesus Baños Caballero, 4TH: Fernando Guerrero Ramírez
Lobos BUAP could be starting their last season in the Mexican top division today as they host the last Clausura tournament’s champions Santos Laguna. The hosts enter 2019 sitting sixteenth in the relegation table, and while they have a decent (0.2352 for you stats lovers) lead over last place Veracruz, they also have to overcome having only one season’s worth of results to fall back on. Each result will weigh that much heavier on their chances to stay up.
Lobos had a decent Apertura, finishing a thirteenth with a respectable 19 points - ten more than they compiled in the 2018 Clausura. Manager Paco Palencia has a decent core of players to work with, and while you might not win a championship with Francisco “Maza” Rodríguez, Leiton Jiménez, and Antonio “Toño” Rodríguez, you’ll have a shot staying up.
While Lobos are looking to survive, Santos is looking to thrive. They’re looking to grab their second championship in three seasons, having bowed out in the quarterfinals of the last Liguilla. Santos underwent another minor overhaul during the offseason, losing Jonathan Rodríguez to Cruz Azul and Jesús Isijara and Osvaldo Martínez to Atlas. They did bring in midfielders Bryan Garnica from Atlas and Diego Valdés from Monarcas Morelia, Hugo Rodríguez from Pachuca, and forward Javier Correa from Colón in Argentina.
Just how good Santos can be is also dependent on players like Ayrton Preciado and Edwin Cetré and their ability to step into vacated roles and excel. The core of the team is solid and Santos is resilient, having proven that in the way they were able to succeed despite turnover after the 2018 Clausura and the turnover in the coaching ranks early in the 2018 Apertura. With that culture of resiliency and the offseason additions, Santos looks like they’ll continue to be one of the better teams in the league in 2019.