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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Mazatlán FC

Santos needs a win to leapfrog Pachuca and take over third place in the Liguilla, while Mazatlán needs a win just to make the repechaje.

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Detail of the match ball prior to the 15th round match between Santos Laguna and FC Juarez as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

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

Television: United States - FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes; Mexico - ViX+

Streaming: Sling TV (Subscription), FOX Sports app, Vidgo (Subscription), ViX+ (Mexico)

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.

Harold Preciado of Santos celebrates with his teammates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 15th round match between Santos Laguna and FC Juarez as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
For the first time in recent memory, Santos had no players called up for international duty, allowing them to rest and focus on the upcoming Liguilla.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

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.

Eduard Bello of Mazatlán reacts during the 12th round match between Monterrey and Mazatlan FC as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at BBVA Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Eduard Bello is Mazatlán’s co-leading scorer with three goals and the only one who was on international duty this past window.
Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

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.