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Copa MX Match preview: Pumas vs Santos Laguna

Pumas and Santos face off in the Copa MX return leg with Santos leading 4-2.

Santos Laguna v Pumas UNAM - Copa MX 2020 Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Pumas and Santos will play the first of back to back games tonight, but this time the Copa MX is on the line as the teams clash on the return leg. Pumas will need to get back on track as they trail 4-2 after falling on the first leg. Meanwhile Santos will need to improve from their Liga MX game on Saturday when they lost 3-0 against Cruz Azul in Mexico City.

Pumas is flying high in Liga MX as they are currently Superliders with seven points. Two wins and one tie have them on top of the table for the first time in a while. Their Copa MX situation isn’t as good however as they lost the first leg against Santos by a 4-2 score. Pumas is lucky to only be trailing by two goals, as they were down 4-0 and seemingly out of the cup after going down to 10 men. The red card had been controversial since it was Martin Barragan who had handled the ball for a penalty kick (that Santos was going to miss) but the ref instead red carded Jesus Rivas, who was making his debut with Pumas and left crying. The outrage forced Barragan to apologize to the team and fans through twitter, and the league fixed their mistake by allowing Rivas to play the return leg but handling Barragan a one game ban. Pumas was helped by Santos gifting them two penalty kicks, and Pumas was able to cut the lead to two, which is less of a distance but it still a tough situation for them.

Santos had a good start to their season in both league and Copa MX up until Saturday. With the luck that before their Copa MX match they had another game in Mexico City, they were able to get to the city early and face Cruz Azul. Yet that game was a surprising 3-0 loss against a Cruz Azul team who had lost their first two games in Liga MX and who aren’t playing Copa MX. It might be a bad omen for them, but still Santos is a good team that have a two goal cushion against a Pumas team that might not have their best team, as is expected in Copa MX. They still have the upper hand and must not drop it, or it will be a terrible result to go out so early after having such a big lead at one time.

Pumas and Santos are going to face each other in Torreon in Liga MX on Saturday. It would be their third game against Pumas in two weeks after the first leg. With Pumas being on top in Liga MX they might not go all out for their Copa MX game and continue the pattern of an alternate squad, which would be a mistake since they are trailing and on the verge of elimination in Copa MX. Surely another round of Copa MX will be better for their young players than a possible elimination because of a terrible mistake by a Pumas player who is now a pariah for the fans. Still they are at home, and they have been a tough team at home under coach Michel. Being a night game however, it’s not the normal conditions that have them being so strong at home in Liga MX. It should be a good game but Pumas might not have enough to continue and Santos should really do better than Saturday and not fail twice in Mexico City.