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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Gallos Blancos de Querétaro

Santos’ quest for their seventh star begins anew as they host Querétaro in the repechaje.

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

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Querétaro Fútbol Club

Date: Saturday, May 8th

Time: 10:15 p.m. Eastern, 9:15 p.m. Central, 7:15 p.m. Pacific, 2:15 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: Christian Kiabek Espinosa Zavala, AR2: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, 4TH: Jorge Antonio Pérez Durán, VAR: Eduardo Galvan Basulto, AVAR: Leon Vicente Barajas Anzures

Television: United States - FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Argentina - Claro Sports; Belize - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Bolivia - Claro Sports; Chile - Claro Sports; Colombia - Claro Sports; Costa Rica - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Dominican Republic - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Ecuador - Claro Sports; El Salvador - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Guatemala - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Honduras - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Nicaragua - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Panama - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports; Peru - Claro Sports; Puerto Rico - Claro Sports; Uruguay - Claro Sports; Venezuela - FOX Sports 2, Claro Sports

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), FOX Sports GO, Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Santos holds the edge all time over all competitions, winning 19 to Querétaro’s 13 with the clubs drawing 12 times. They’ve only met three times outside of Liga MX play, with each team winning once and the clubs drawing once in Copa MX play. When the clubs met earlier this season, Querétaro won 1-0 at Estadio Corregidora on a Gonzalo Montes goal. The last time the clubs met in Torreón, Santos won 2-1 thanks to goals by Josecarlos Van Rankin and Octavio Rivero while Querétaro’s lone goal was a penalty by Hugo Silveira back on August 30, 2020. The clubs have met twice before in the playoffs, with Santos knocking Querétaro out of the 2013 Apertura quarterfinals by a 6-3 aggregate and Santos defeating Querétaro 5-3 on aggregate in the 2015 Clausura for their fifth Liga MX championship.

Santos Laguna v Toluca - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Young players like Santiago Muñoz (L) and Eduardo “Mudo Aguirre (R) have buoyed Santos this season despite the team dealing with a rash of injuries.
Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

With the 2021 Guard1anes tournament behind them, Santos Laguna now enters the second phase of their quest to add a seventh Liga MX trophy to their silverware cabinet in Territorio Santos Modelo. After a season wracked by injuries and salvaged in no small part by a crop of very good youth players, they’ll face Gallos Blancos de Querétaro in the repechaje.

Santos was able to overcome a lot of obstacles to get this far, but there are still more to get past. Santos lost to this Querétaro team in Week 14, and with a chance to bypass the repechaje altogether with a win at home against Puebla they only managed a 0-0 draw. They also lost their last repechaje match back in November against Pachuca at their fortress TSM.

The good news is that Santos is mostly healthy. In their loss in Week 14, they were without Diego Valdés and Fernando Gorriarán, two rather critical players in Santos’ midfield. They’re still without Brian Lozano, Ulíses Rívas, Jesús Isijara, and Jonathan Díaz, but Lozano and Rívas have missed the entire season while Díaz played only 254 minutes and Isijara just 657. Also the draw against Puebla was against a team who could afford to grind out a draw, which they did.

Queretaro v FC Juarez - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX
Ángel Sepúlveda leads all Querétaro goalscorers with six on the season.
Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Querétaro will be afforded no such luxury. And while Los Gallos did beat Santos earlier in the season, they did it in Querétaro where they posted a respectable six wins, two draws, and just one loss over the season. On the road however, Querétaro managed to get just one point in eight games, a 0-0 draw against last place Necaxa in Week 15. The last time they managed to get a win on the road was against Necaxa, back on February 16, 2020.

That’s not to say Santos can look past Querétaro. Despite being on a team that gave up 25 goals this season, Gil Alcalá has shown promise on numerous occasions. Ángel Sepúlveda also has six goals on the season, good enough to tie him for ninth in the league. And while Liga MX is known for being unpredictable, that gets ratcheted up a notch in the playoffs.

Santos needs to play smart soccer and get on the front foot early. While not necessarily an offensive powerhouse, Santos is at their best when defending a lead. Any sort of set piece will be crucial, and they’ll need to convert their chances early to stand the best chance of moving on into the Liguilla.