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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Tigres UANL

Santos and Tigres get their seasons started tomorrow night in Torreón, albeit a bit later than originally scheduled.

Nicolás López #11 of Tigres fights for the ball with Matheus Doria #21 of Santos during the quarterfinals second leg match between Tigres UANL and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Universitario Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Monterrey, Mexico. Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

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

Date: Wednesday, January 12th

Time: 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 1:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Enedina Caudillo Gómez, 4TH: Jesus Rafael Lopez Valle, VAR: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AVAR: Marcos Quintero Huitron

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes Network; Mexico - TUDN

Streaming: FOX Sports app

All-time record: Across all competitions, Tigres holds the lead with 30 wins to Santos’ 26 with 29 draws between them. In Liga MX play, Tigres has won 25 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. Tigres eliminated Santos from the 2021 Clausura Quarterfinals with a 1-0 win at El Volcán on a goal from Carlos Salcedo. The last time the teams faced off in Torreón, 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.

Pedro Caixinha newly appointed coach of Santos Laguna looks on during his unveiling at Corona Stadium on December 14, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico. Caixinha will star his second stint with the team.
Pedro Caixinha returns to Santos, where he won a title with Santos in 2015.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Better late than never, Santos will get their 2022 underway with a home match against regional rivals Tigres after the match was postponed due to 12 players on the Tigres squad testing positive for COVID-19. 2022 will be a season of significant change for Santos, with the second Pedro Caixinha era starting. Caixinha won the league with Santos in the 2015 Clausura before stints with Rangers and Cruz Azul.

Caixinha will have some good offensive options this season, with a healthy Brian Lozano bring joined by Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, Ayrton Preciado, Juan Ferney Otero, and Leo Suárez, who is on loan from Club América. Alessio Da Cruz has left the club, posting a farewell message on his Instagram a week ago. The defensive unit of Carlos Acevedo, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, and Carlos Orrantia will be joined by Franco Pizzichillo, on loan from Montevideo City Torque, an affiliate of Manchester City.

Sebastian Cordova #10 of Mexico prepares for a throw in against Chile during the second half of their match at Q2 Stadium on December 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Sebastián Córdova was Tigres’ big offseason signing, and he’ll be joining some of the league’s best offensive players.
Photo by Chuck Burton/Getty Images

Tigres come in largely the same squad as last season, with the addition of Sebastián Córdova as their big offseason signing. He’ll join André-Pierre Gignac and Florian Thauvin, who will be in his first full season with Tigres. Tigres should pose problems with those three alone, however with Nicolás “El Diente” López and Carlos González added into the mix they should easily be the most feared offense in the league.

Tigres however are perhaps a little suspect on defense, which could be their undoing. While they added Jesús Angulo during the offseason, they are still reliant on 34 year old Hugo Ayala and 32 year old Rafael Carioca on defense in front of 35 year old Nahuel Guzmán. The unit is streaky, and if they’re having an off night it could make moot any offensive threat Tigres poses.

Torreón has always been a fortress for Santos, and the mid-week match against Tigres should be an entertaining one to say the least. The first match of a season is always tricky, perhaps even more so when you factor in the match being pushed back due to the delay. Regardless, we should know more about where these teams are and where they’re aiming to go this season by the end of the match.