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Liguilla match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Toluca

After a wild first leg in Toluca, Santos heads to Torreón down a goal but with their home crowd behind them.

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Fans of Santos during the 17th round match between Santos Laguna and Mazatlan FC as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on October 2, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, October 16th

Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Luis Enrique Santander Aguirre, AR1: Christian Kiabek Espinosa Zavala, AR2: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, 4TH: Oscar Macías Romo, VAR: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AVAR: Ismael Rosario Lopez Peñuelas

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2; Mexico - TUDN, Azteca 7

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Sling TV (Subscription), FOX Sports app, Vidgo (Subscription), ViX (Latin America)

All-time record: Toluca holds the all time record across all competitions, winning 35 games to Santos’ 29, with 24 draws between the clubs. The clubs have only met outside of Liga MX on three occasions, with Santos winning their meeting in the 2003-04 Interliga 2-0, Santos beating Toluca 2-1 and Toluca beating Santos 2-0 in the 2018 Copa MX Apertura tournament. Toluca won the first leg 4-3 in a wild match that saw a little bit of everything on Thursday evening. The last time the teams met in Torreón, Santos battled back to get a 2-2 on stoppage time goal from Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre.

Juan Brunetta of Santos reacts after being sent off during the quarterfinals first leg match between Toluca and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Nemesio Diez Stadium on October 13, 2022 in Toluca, Mexico.
Santos will be without Juan Brunetta, who picked up two yellow cards in the opening match against Toluca.
Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

How do you follow up after a classic? Santos and Toluca will try to answer that question as they play the return leg in Torreón. Toluca won the first leg on a Thiago Volpi penalty kick in stoppage time, setting the stage for the vuelta match. Santos played well, battling back from down 2-0 early to take a lead into the second half, but giving up two goals down the stretch can’t make head coach Eduardo Fentanes pleased.

Perhaps worse is that Santos will be without left winger Juan Brunetta, who picked up a second yellow late in the match. The good news is that the medical report prior to the ida match indicated both Matheus Dória and Ayrton Preciado were available, although neither were in the eighteen for Santos in the match. Preciado would be a great replacement for Brunetta if he’s healthy, otherwise look for Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre to play out left with Harold Preciado at the forward and either Javier Correa or Andrés Ávila at a false nine.

Camilo Sanvezzo of Toluca celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the quarterfinals first leg match between Toluca and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Nemesio Diez Stadium on October 13, 2022 in Toluca, Mexico.
Camilo Sanvezzo scored two of Toluca’s four goals and was the most dangerous player on the pitch for much of the match.
Photo by Roberto Maya/Getty Images

Toluca meanwhile will be happy with the overall result, however disappointed they let Santos back into the match after taking an early lead. Camilo Sanvezzo turned in a fantastic performance, scoring two goals and looking dangerous on Toluca’s possessions. But they emerged from the home leg of the series with only a one point advantage, which might not be good enough against a Santos team that won eight out of nine games in Torreón this season.

Historically speaking, Toluca has only won once in Torreón, a 4-1 victory in the 2017 Clausura quarterfinals. They defeated Santos 5-4 on aggregate in that series before losing to eventual champions Chivas in the semis. Toluca beat Santos on penalties in the 2010 Bicentenario, drawing the first leg 2-2 in Torreón before a scoreless second leg at Estadio Nemesio Díez. But the history between these two teams is still being written, and this chapter isn’t over just yet.