Game: Cruz Azul Fútbol Club, A.C. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Saturday, January 25th
Time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Central, 3:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Tlalpan, CDMX)
Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: José Alfredo López Cruz, AR2: MiTelly Salvador Saldivar Guzman, 4TH: Jesus Roberto Ruiz Gonzalez
All-time record: Cruz Azul holds the advantage all-time across all competitions, winning 31 to Santos’ 23 with 16 draws between them. All but three matches were in Liga MX play: a two leg quarterfinal series in the 2010-11 Concacaf Champions League that Cruz Azul won 5-1 on aggregate, and a quarterfinal match in the 2017 Clausura Copa MX that Cruz Azul won 3-1. The last time the clubs met was on November 10, 2019 when Santos beat La Maquina 3-1 at TSM. Santos got goals from Gerardo Arteaga, Brian Lozano, and Octavio Rivero while Igor Lichnovsky got the consolation for Cruz Azul. The last time they played at Estadio Azteca was on February 16, 2019 and Santos also won that round 2-1. In that one, Hugo Nervo and Ayrton Preciado scored for Santos while Milton Caraglio got the lone goal for the home side.
Santos Laguna (1W 0D 1L) will face some familiar faces when they head to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul (0W 0D 2L) this weekend. Ex-Santos manager Robert Dante Siboldi is at the helm of La Maquina, and Adrián Aldrete and Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez also wore the green and white hoops of the visitors at one time.
It hasn’t gone according to plan this season for Cruz Azul however. They’ve lost their first two games and Siboldi’s job is under serious scrutiny. The reinforcements that have been brought in haven’t helped much, as only Uruguayan midfielder Pablo Cepellini and former Querétaro midfielder Luis Romo seeing any playing time thus far. Cruz Azul also brought in Argentine center forward Lucas Passerini from Palestino to help with the absence of Milton Caraglio, who will miss a significant amount of time with a broken metatarsal.
Santos comes in having won a thrilling come from behind match against León (1W 0D 1L) at home as well as a 4-2 dismantling of Pumas in the first leg of the Copa MX Round of 16. They were also able to do so without using most of their key starters, with only Félix Torres starting both the Copa match and the León match and Brian Lozano and Eryc Castillo combining for just 27 minutes off of the bench.
Santos has the momentum, but Cruz Azul is always dangerous at the Azteca and it would be very easy for Santos to start focusing on the upcoming Copa MX return leg and Liga MX match, both of which are against Pumas.