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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Necaxa

After a tough result on the road, Santos returns to their fortress TSM to host Los Rayos.

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Santos Laguna v FC Juarez - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, March 7th

Time: 8:06 p.m. Eastern, 7:06 p.m. Central, 5:06 p.m. Pacific, 1:06 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Michel Ricardo Espinoza Avalos, 4TH: Priscila Eritzel Pérez Borja, VAR: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AVAR: Fabrice Paul Plancon-jallet

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - FOX Sports 2; Belize - FOX Sports 2; Costa Rica - FOX Sports 2; Dominican Republic - FOX Sports 2; El Salvador - FOX Sports 2; Guatemala - FOX Sports 2; Honduras - FOX Sports 2; Nicaragua - FOX Sports 2; Panama - FOX Sports 2; Venezuela - FOX Sports 2

Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription), Sling TV (Free trial + monthly subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Free trial + monthly subscription)

All-time record: Necaxa holds the all-time record across all competitions with 26 wins to Santos’ 21, while the clubs have drawn 19 times. They still hold the edge in Liga MX play, with 25 wins to Santos’ 19 and 19 draws. The other matches were in the Copa MX, with Santos wining two and losing one to Los Rayos. In their last meeting, Necaxa won 2-1 at Estadio Victoria thanks to goals from Claudio Baeza and Unai Bilbao. Matheus Dória got the lone goal for Santos in the loss. The last time the clubs met at TSM was back on March 15 when Hugo Rodríguez and Brian Lozano scored to give Santos the 2-1 win. Félix Torres scored an own goal for Necaxa’s only tally of the evening.

Santos Laguna v FC Juarez - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Santiago Muñoz is on the cusp of a breakout season, with two goals in six appearances so far.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss to Pumas (2W 2D 5L), Santos Laguna (4W 3D 2L) returns home to TSM where they are unbeaten in their last their last nine regular season games. They’ll host Necaxa (1W 4D 4L), who have gotten just two points in five games on the road this season.

Soccer can be a cruel game. In their last outing Santos was the better team for most of the match, but a fluky penalty late in the match sealed their fate. The club can take a lot of positives from the match, as they created a lot of offensive chances and were largely tidy on the defensive side of the ball.

A fair criticism to be levelled is their inability to finish the chances they were given. While some chances were just left hanging by a rushed shot or one pass too many, goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera turned in a performance that would have stymied any offense. Santos still must look to be more clinical in front of the goal. As good as Santiago Muñoz and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre have been, there’s always room for improvement.

Necaxa v Pachuca - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Alejandro Zendejas is Necaxa’s scoring co-leader with two goals on the season.
Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

Necaxa meanwhile has a lot of room for improvement. They’ve won just once this season, a 1-0 win in Week 2 against San Luis (3W 2D 4L). They’ve been outscored nine to five on the road, although they were able to get draws against Tigres (3W 2D 3L) and Chivas (2W 5D 2L). They’ve also conceded 14 goals so far this season, ranking them 16th out of 18 teams.

Their offense has been middle of the pack, scoring nine goals. Martín Barragán, Ian González, and Alejandro Zendejas all have a team best two goals, so there might not be a specific person for Santos’ defense to key in on to stop.

Necaxa has struggled mightily to put it all together this season, and a trip to Torreón is a difficult endeavor even for the best of teams. They were able to pull out results on the road against some decent teams, and that should be enough to give Santos pause especially on the tail end of a doble jornada. The good news for Santos is Félix Torres will be back in the lineup and they were able to rotate some key players through their matches this past week.