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Match preview: León vs. Santos Laguna

The path to the Liguilla continues as León hosts Santos with a ticket to face América on the line.

General view of Leon Stadium from the corner flag prior the 17th round match between Leon and FC Juarez as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX on November 12, 2023 in Leon, Mexico. Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

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

Date: Sunday, November 26th

Time: 9:06 p.m. Eastern, 8:06 p.m. Central (local), 6:06 p.m. Pacific, 2:06 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio León (León, Gto.)

Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Alberto Morín Méndez, AR2: Jorge Antonio Sánchez Espinoza, 4TH: Daniel Quintero Huitrón, VAR: Oscar Mejía García, AVAR: Jesus Rafael Lopez Valle

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

Streaming: TUDN En Vivo

All-time record: León holds the all time, with 22 wins to Santos’ 17 and the clubs sharing 12 draws across all competitions. All of these results have come in Liga MX play except for one draw and one León win, which happened when the teams were in the Segunda División during the 1987-88 season.

In their last meeting, León beat Santos 2-0 in Torreón back on October 8 on goals from Nicolás “El Diente” López and Paul Bellón. The last time the clubs met in Guanajuato, León dished out a 4-1 thrashing on March 19 thanks to a brace from Víctor Dávila and goals from Iván Moreno and Fidel Ambriz, while Harold Preciado scored Santos’ lone goal.

Juan Brunetta of Santos celebrates after scoring the team’s second goal during the Play-in match between Santos Laguna and Mazatlan FC as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on November 23, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico.
Juan Brunetta’s two goals push Santos past Mazatlán and into the final round of the Play-In.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

With a mid-week win against Mazatlán FC, Santos advanced to the final round of the Play-In where they’ll meet León, who lost to Atlético San Luis in their Play-In game. The winner of the match goes on to face superlíder Club América in the Liguilla, the loser starts their offseason.

Santos played a great game against Mazatlán, with Juan Brunetta stealing the show. While Brunetta lead the league in assists, it was his two goals that propelled Santos into this round. Also known for his free kicks, Brunetta scored both goals during the run of play on unmarked runs into the center of the box. And while Santos’ defense had been problematic during the season, it kept Mazatlán mostly out of the match, the one goal just after half time the lone exception.

Atletico San Luis v Leon - Play-in Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX
Nicolás Larcamón will look to get a better performance from his León side after a disappointing loss at San Luis.
Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

León meanwhile had a rather poor game against San Luis, with William Tesillo giving up an own goal in the third minute and León giving up two more goals to San Luis. León played catch-up for most of the match, because despite drawing level in the 10th minute on a José Alvarado goal, San Luis drew ahead on a Jürgen Damm goal in the 25th minute and never looked back. Sebastien Salles-Lamonge and Federico Viñas traded goals in the 73rd and 77th minutes respectively, but León struggled throughout the match against a San Luis team Santos beat to end the regular season to make it into the Play-In.

Santos should come into this match with the confidence they’ve built up over the past two games. León however will have the home field advantage, where they’ve only lost once this season, and will want to prove to their faithful fans that the San Luis match was simply a fluke.