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Match preview: Pachuca vs. Santos Laguna

Santos comes into the match with a four game winning streak, while Pachuca looks to defend a three game streak of their own.

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Aerial view of the Hidalgo Stadium during the 9th round match between Pachuca and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Pachuca, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

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

Date: Saturday, September 3rd

Time: 6:05 p.m. Eastern, 5:05 p.m. Central, 3:05 p.m. Pacific, 10:05 p.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Hidalgo (Pachuca, Hgo.)

Referees: REF: Fernando Hernandez Gomez, AR1: Enrique Martìnez Sandoval, AR2: Edgar Magdaleno Castrejon, 4TH: Maximiliano Quintero Hernández, VAR: Gerardo Martínez Bravo, AVAR: Luis Alfredo García Rodríguez

Television: United States - Univision, TUDN; Mexico - FOX Sports

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), TUDN En Vivo, Fanatiz (Subscription, check service for available regions)

All-time record: Pachuca has a slight lead over Santos across all competitions, winning 23 to Santos’ 22 with 23 draws between them. Santos however has a slight edge in Liga MX play, having 21 wins to Pachuca’s 20 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. In their last match, Santos won 3-1 in Torreón on April 3 with goals from Brian Lozano, Harold Preciado, and Jordan Carrillo while Nicolás Ibáñez scored the lone goal for Tuzos. The last time the teams met in Pachuca, they ended in a 1-1 draw on October 16, 2021 thanks to goals from Ibáñez and Fernando Gorriarán.

Felix Torres of Santos drive the ball during the 16th round match between Tijuana and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Caliente Stadium on August 25, 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico.
Félix Torres will miss around four weeks with an injury to his left hamstring, leaving a hole that will be difficult to fill in Santos’ already thin back line.
Photo by Francisco Vega/Getty Images

For the first time since the start of the 2019 Clausura, Santos has won four games in a row. They have the opportunity to hit five wins in a row in a single season for the first time since 2013 when they head to Pachuca to face Tuzos. Santos has won six of their last seven, the only interruption coming in a 2-0 loss at Tigres, where they’ve only won three Liga MX games since the turn of the century.

Santos are enjoying their best run of form in recent memory, currently sitting in third place on the table despite having played a game less than six teams including superlíder Monterrey. They beat a decent Atlético de San Luis side last week 4-1 despite missing Matheus Dória with an injury and Fernando Gorriarán on a yellow card suspension. Gorriarán will be back, but Santos will be without Dória as well as his center back partner Félix Torres, who will miss an estimated four weeks with an injury to his left hamstring. Santos subbed in Roni Prieto to play in the back with Hugo Rodríguez, however they also brought in Rivaldo Lozano later in the match and could opt to bring someone up from their U20 team.

Nicolas Ibanez of Pachuca celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the 7th round match between Pachuca and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on August 7, 2022 in Pachuca, Mexico.
Nicolás Ibáñez has six goals on the season and has scored in his last three consecutive games against Santos.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

To be clear however, Pachuca can not be taken lightly. Nicolás Ibáñez has scored against Santos in his past three matches, going back to the 2021 Clausura when he was with San Luis. He is second in the league with six goals, behind only Henry Martín’s seven, and Pachuca’s 15 goals are good for sixth best in the league.

But their real strength is on defense. Tuzos have allowed just nine goals in eleven games, behind only Tigres and Chivas. Their home has also been somewhat of a fortress, the only loss coming against América in Week 9 in a 3-0 blowout. Former Santos manager Guillermo Almada, who now manages Pachuca, was unhappy with his team’s performance, saying in the post-match press conference “It was not a good game, and that is the reality. América did not generate many chances, but were forceful and we did not have the clarity we generally have. I insist, we had a bad game and it’s logical that you lose. We did many things badly and they made us pay dearly.”

Santos goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo and Pachuca’s Kevin Álvarez and Luis Chávez started and for México in their 1-0 loss to Paraguay in Atlanta on Wednesday night, while Santos forward Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre and Pachuca midfielder Erick Sánchez were subbed on in the match. Both managers may consider limiting the minutes of some of these players, especially Álvarez and Chávez, who played 65 and 78 minutes respectively.

Pachuca have won three straight since that loss and will look to continue their winning streak at home in front of their fans. Santos would love nothing more than to end that streak while continuing their own. It should be a good match between two of the best teams in the league at this moment.