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Liga MX 2021 Apertura Quarterfinal match preview: Tigres UANL vs. Santos Laguna

Santos takes a 2-1 lead to El Volcán, which has been a house of horrors for Los Laguneros.

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Leonardo Fernandez of Tigres (R) fights for the ball with Alan Cervantes of Santos during the quarterfinals first leg match between Santos Laguna and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on November 25, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Game: Club Tigres UANL Sinergia Deportiva S.A. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, November 28th

Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Universitario (San Nicolás de la Garza, N.L.)

Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, 4TH: Victor Alfonso Caceres Hernandez, VAR: Eduardo Galvan Basulto, AVAR: Igor Itzsvan Flores Florian

Television: United States - TUDN; Mexico - TUDN, Belize - ESPN2; Canada - OneSoccer; Costa Rica - ESPN2; Dominican Republic - ESPN2; El Salvador - ESPN2; Guatemala - ESPN2; Honduras - ESPN2; Nicaragua - ESPN2; Panama - ESPN2; Spain - Footters; International - Onefootball

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), TUDN En Vivo

All-time record: Across all competitions, Tigres holds the lead with 29 wins to Santos’ 26 with 29 draws between them. In Liga MX play, Tigres has won 24 to Santos’ 23 with 28 draws. Most notably, Tigres beat Santos in the 2011 Apertura Final for their third championship, while Santos advanced past Tigres in the 2012 Clausura semifinal en route to their fourth championship. Tigres also defeated Santos in the 2018 Campeon de Campeones and in the 2018-19 Concacaf Champions League semifinal round. The last time the teams faced off at El Volcán, the teams drew 1-1 with Santos’ goal coming from Fernando Gorriarán and Tigres’ goal being scored by Carlos Salcedo. Santos won the opening leg 2-1 in Torreón on goals from Eduardo Aguirre and Diego Valdés, while Tigres drew one back on an André-Pierre Gignac wonderstrike.

Eduardo Aguirre of Santos celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during the quarterfinals first leg match between Santos Laguna and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on November 25, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico.
Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre’s second goal of the season came at an opportune time, helping Santos take a lead to Monterrey.
Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos looks to finish what they started on Thursday as they make the short trek east to face Tigres in Monterrey. Santos started out hot and took a 2-0 lead, but cooled off in the second half and surrendered a goal to keep the series close. That said, the last time they won at El Volcán was in the 2015 Apertura quarterfinals and have lost seven of the ten games after that win.

Santos comes in with most everyone available, with the notable exception of Alessio Da Cruz, who manager Guillermo Almada said was dismissed from the team for “a series of indisciplines” and would not be joining the team for the rest of the Liguilla. Hopefully it won’t be much of a distraction, as Santos has been getting scoring from Fernando Gorriarán, Diego “El Mago” Valdés, and Ayrton Preciado and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre scored his second goal of the season in the opening leg.

Andre-Pierre Gignac of Tigres looks on during the quarterfinals first leg match between Santos Laguna and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on November 25, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico.
André-Pierre Gignac’s golazo gave Tigres a bit of a lifeline and sets the stage for a tense vuelta (return leg) match.
Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

Tigres however hasn’t lost at home all season, winning their final three at El Volcán by a combined score of 8-1. They looked good in stretches in the first leg, especially in the second half when Florian Thauvin was on the pitch, returning from missing the final seven games with an injury. If Thauvin is healthy enough to go a full 90, it could be trouble for Santos.

Both teams will have to be at their best, but Tigres has the advantage. In their building, a one goal lead might not last too long and Tigres will advance if the score is tied at the end of regulation. It won’t be easy for either team, and should make for a good match for fans to watch.