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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Pachuca

Returning from international break, Santos hosts former manager Guillermo Almada and Pachuca, who are the best team in the league at this moment.

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Coach Guillermo Almada of Pachuca reacts during the 11th round match between Pachuca and Cruz Azul as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on March 19, 2022 in Pachuca, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, April 3rd

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: Adonai Escobedo González, AR1: Pablo Israel Hernández Luna, AR2: Jéssica Fernanda Morales Morales, 4TH: Iván Antonio López Sánchez, VAR: Diego Montaño Robles, AVAR: Alberto Morín Méndez

Television: United States - ESPN Deportes; Mexico -TUDN

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), Sling TV (Subscription), ESPN+, Vidgo (Subscription)

All-time record: Pachuca has a slight lead over Santos across all competitions, winning 23 to Santos’ 21 with 23 draws between them. The clubs are even in Liga MX play, with each team having 20 wins and splitting 20 draws. The teams met when were both in the Segunda División A (now Ascenso MX), with Pachuca winning twice, Santos winning once, and the clubs drawing once over the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons. The clubs also drew 1-1 in the 2008-09 SuperLiga and met in the 2018 Apertura Copa MX tournament, with Pachuca winning once and the teams drawing once as well. The last time the teams met, they ended in a 1-1 draw on October 16, 2021 thanks to goals from Nicolás Ibáñez and Fernando Gorriarán. The last time the teams met in Torreón, Pachuca won 3-0 in the Repechaje after the 2020 Apertura season, with Víctor Guzmán, Oscar Murillo, and Roberto de la Rosa picking up the goals on that day.

Harold Preciado of Santos celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the 10th round match between Santos Laguna and Club Tijuana as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on March 13, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.
Harold Preciado’s five goals this season earned him just his third call-up to the Colombia National Team during this past international window.
Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

After a break for the international window, Santos returns to Liga MX play having gotten points in five of their past six games. They return to TSM, where they’ve won two straight games after suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time since the 2015 Apertura.

Santos has gotten standout performances from Carlos Acevedo, who was on international duty with México, as well as Fernando Gorriarán and Harold Preciado. Preciado leads the team with five goals, tying him with Puebla’s Fernando Aristigueta, Necaxa’s Rodrigo Aguirre, and Querétaro’s Ángel Sepúlveda for second in the league.

Nicolas Ibañez of Pachuca looks on during the 11th round match between Pachuca and Cruz Azul as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on March 19, 2022 in Pachuca, Mexico.
Nicolás Ibáñez is behind only André-Pierre Gignac on the goal scorers table, notching seven in his first ten matches of the season.
Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Those four goal scorers trail only André-Pierre Gignac and Pachuca’s Nicolás Ibáñez, who will be returning for the first time as a member of Pachuca, having moved from Atlético San Luis after the 2021 Clausura. Ibáñez has notched three goals against Santos in his career.

Also making a return to TSM is beloved former coach Guillermo Almada. Almada was let go after the end of the 2022 Clausura in a bit of a surprise move, bringing in former manager Pedro Caixinha. Caixinha was let go after Santos crashed out of the Concacaf Champions League against CF Montréal and going winless in the club’s first six league games. Almada meanwhile has Pachuca at the top of the table, winning eight of the club’s first ten games.

Pachuca is as good a team as there is in the league right now, but Santos has gone toe-to-toe with tough teams this season, drawing Nicolás Larcamón’s Puebla on the road in their last match out, battling back from being down 2-0 to almost winning the match.