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Match preview: Tigres UANL vs. Santos Laguna

Two very different styles of play will be on display as the attack-minded Tigres host the counterattacking Santos Laguna.

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Tigres UANL v Monterrey - Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Javier Figueroa/Jam Media/Getty Images

Game: Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.

Date: Saturday, August 7th

Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC

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

Referees: REF: Marco Antonio Ortiz Nava, AR1: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, AR2: Enrique Martìnez Sandoval, 4TH: Alejandro Funk Villafañe, VAR: Carlos Ayala Cuéllar, AVAR: Jesús Sevilla Palafox

Television: United States - TUDN, Univision; Mexico - Afizzionados

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Sling TV (Subscription), TUDN En Vivo

All-time record: Across all competitions, Tigres holds the lead with 29 wins to Santos’ 25 with 28 draws between them. In Liga MX play, Tigres has won 24 to Santos’ 22 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. In their last match, Santos won 2-0 on January 17 in Torreón on the back of a spectacular performance from goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo and goals from Juan Ferney Otero and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre. The last time the clubs met at El Volcán, Carlos Acevedo committed an own goal and Nicolás “El Diente” López scored in stoppage as Tigres won 2-0 on September 12, 2020.

Guillermo Almada’s Santos Laguna’s strength lies in their ability to defend well and counterattack.
Guillermo Almada’s Santos Laguna’s strength lies in their ability to defend well and counterattack.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

After a tough draw at home against Cruz Azul, Santos Laguna (1-1-0) heads on the road to take on Tigres UANL (1-0-1). Santos were bolstered the arrival of new signing Alessio Da Cruz, on loan from Parma in Serie A. Primarily a left winger, Da Cruz is a versatile forward and it will be interesting to see where in Guillermo Almada’s system he fits. Santos will also celebrate the return of Olympic bronze medalist Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, although it’s unclear how much playing time either he or Da Cruz will get.

Santos has looked good in both outings, conceding one goal on really the only serious opportunity they faced. The defense has been solid, most times preventing chances from developing before goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo has to get involved.

Miguel Herrera is looking to re-make Tigres into a more attacking team.
Miguel Herrera is looking to re-make Tigres into a more attacking team.
Photo by Jonathan Mondragon/Jam Media/Getty Images

They will be put to a stern test this week against Tigres. While Tigres will be missing André-Pierre Gignac, who is out with a sprained ligament in his right ankle as well as a bone bruise in his right fibula. Tigres will also be without Guido Pizarro, who picked up a red card in last week’s 3-1 loss to Toluca. Tigres are also very thin beyond their starting players.

Tigres are still a dangerous side. They have plenty of attacking talent, such as Carlos González and Nicolás “El Diente” López, and manager Miguel “Piojo” Herrera has said he’s looking to replace former manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s possession-based style of play with his more free-flowing offensive style.

It should be a good game to watch. Tigres will want to attack and may feel emboldened to do so in their own building despite missing some key players. Santos meanwhile are a top counterattacking team and could use that to punish an overambitious Tigres side. Both will feel like three points are there for the taking.