Game: Club Deportivo Social y Cultural Cruz Azul Asociación S.A. de C.V. de C.V. vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, February 27th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Tlalpan, CDMX)
Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Jose Ibrahim Martinez Chavarria, AR2: Mauricio Nieto Torres, 4TH: Guillermo Pacheco Larios, VAR: Erick Yair Miranda Galindo, AVAR: Victor Alfonso Caceres Hernandez
All-time record: Cruz Azul holds the advantage all-time across all competitions, winning 34 to Santos’ 24 with 18 draws between them. All but three matches were in Liga MX play: a two leg quarterfinal series in the 2010-11 Concacaf Champions League that Cruz Azul won 5-1 on aggregate, and a quarterfinal match in the 2017 Clausura Copa MX that Cruz Azul won 3-1. The last time the teams played was on August 1 in Torreón that resulted in a 1-1 draw. Santiago Giménez scored for Cruz Azul, while a Diego Valdés penalty in the 81st minute leveled the score. Prior to that, the teams played a two-leg series in the 2021 Guard1anes Final that Cruz Azul won 2-1 on aggregate.
After a tumultuous week, Santos will attempt to usher in a new era when they head to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul. After drawing Juárez 0-0 last week, Santos went to Montréal and got blown out 3-0 by CF Montréal, which lead to the dismissal of coach Pedro Caixinha on Thursday. Caixinha was replaced by Eduardo Fentanes, who was managing Tampico Madero FC prior to his appointment. His only prior first division managerial experience was a seven game stint at San Luis FC in 2013, which ended with two draws, five losses, and San Luis being relocated to Chiapas.
Santos also comes in with team captain Matheus Dória having missed the game in Montréal with a knock he picked up against Juárez. In his place was Ismael Govea, with Franco Pizzichillo starting at right back. Hugo Rodríguez also started at center back, with Félix Torres also not on the game day roster.
Cruz Azul comes in having another good season, starting the week in second place with 13 points. Their offensively and defensively dangerous, scoring 11 goals while conceding just five. Carlos “Charly” Rodríguez has three goals in six games to lead the team, while Santiago Giménez, Juan Escobar, and former Santos Laguna canterano Uriel Antuna each have two.
Cruz Azul’s only loss this season however came at home, a 2-1 loss to Necaxa in Week 5. They however won the other two games, beating Tijuana 2-0 in Week 1 and Juárez 1-0 in Week 2. They’re still one of the best teams in the league, and pose a difficult challenge for any team, let alone one that has struggled as much as Santos this season.