Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Mazatlán Futbol Club
Date: Sunday, October 2nd
Time: 7:05 p.m. Eastern, 6:05 p.m. Central, 4:05 p.m. Pacific, 10:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)
Referees: REF: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, AR2: Leonardo Javier Castillo Rodríguez, 4TH: Salvador Pérez Villalobos, VAR: Angel Monroy Bello, AVAR: Daniel Quintero Huitrón
All-time record: Santos and Mazatlán have met four times before, with Santos winning both games in Torreón including the last one 1-0 on October 2, 2021 thanks to Brian Lozano converting a penalty. The last match they played against one another however ended with Mazatlán getting a 1-0 win at Estadio El Kraken on April 19, 2022 on a Gonzalo Sosa goal in the 37th minute.
After an international break that saw no players leaving to represent their countries, Santos returns for the final week of Liga MX play before heading into the Liguilla. Fernando Gorriarán was left off of the Uruguay roster for their friendlies against Iran and Qatar, the latter of which was cancelled anyway, and Félix Torres was fresh off an injury and wasn’t selected for Ecuador’s friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Japan. Meanwhile Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre and Carlos Acevedo were also left out of México’s roster for their matches against Perú and Colombia.
Heading into the match Santos has clinched a spot in the Liguilla, skipping the repechaje, and with a win could overtake Pachuca for third place on the table. Mazatlán meanwhile are on the outside looking in, needing a win to put them into the repechaje and pushing them as high as eleventh place, knocking Necaxa out of the final round.
Santos will also most likely still be without captain and center back Matheus Dória as well as Ayrton Preciado. Preciado hasn’t played since suffering a broken tibia in his left leg in an Ecuador match against Perú in February, while Dória has been out with an injured right ankle in a Week 4 match against Toluca.
Mazatlán meanwhile will be playing for their chance to make the repechaje, however they’ll be missing Jefferson Intriago, who picked up a fifth yellow card in stoppage time of Los Cañoneros’ last match against Necaxa. Mazatlán’s only player on international duty was winger Eduard Bello, however he didn’t see action in either of Venezuela’s matches against Iceland or the United Arab Emirates.
Mazatlán has done fairly well defensively this season, allowing 21 goals in 16 games, which is the same as Santos. They’ve struggled mightily on offense however, scoring just 17 goals which sits them in 13th place with Juárez. Santos meanwhile has scored 35, which is just three behind Rayados. Bello and Nicolás Benedetti are co-leading scorers for Los Cañoneros, with three goals each on the season.
Santos however should expect Mazatlán to throw everything at them and should not take this match lightly. The visitors have absolutely nothing to lose, and Santos will need to face a desperate team while maintaining the balance of trying to get their players back into rhythm without putting anyone into a position of being hurt or suspended for the Liguilla.