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Match preview: Santos Laguna vs. Necaxa

Santos heads home to host Necaxa, who are now lead by Santos’ former manager.

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Juan Brunetta of Santos celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal during the 8th round match between Pachuca and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on September 18, 2023 in Pachuca, Mexico. Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

Game: Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. vs. Impulsora del Deportivo Necaxa S.A. de C.V.

Date: Sunday, September 24th

Time: 10:05 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 8:00 p.m. local, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC

Venue: Estadio Corona TSM (Torreón, Coah.)

Referees: REF: Oscar Mejía García, AR1: Marco Antonio Bisguerra Mendiola, AR2: Jéssica Fernanda Morales Morales, 4TH: Aldo Ballesteros Barba, VAR: Jorge Abraham Camacho Peregrina, AVAR: Alberto Morín Méndez

Television: United States - FOX Deportes; Mexico - None

Streaming: fuboTV (Subscription), ViX+ (Subscription), FOX Sports app

All-time record: Necaxa holds the all-time record across all competitions with 27 wins to Santos’ 24, while the clubs have drawn 20 times. They also hold the edge in Liga MX play, with 26 wins to Santos’ 22 and 20 draws. The other matches were in the Copa MX, with Santos wining two and losing one to Los Rayos. In their last meeting, the clubs played to a scoreless draw in Aguascalientes back in March. The last time they met in Torreón, Santos beat Los Rayos 3-1 on September 6, 2022 thanks to goals from Juan Brunetta, Diego Medina, and Leo Suárez while Alexis Peña got the lone tally for Necaxa.

Juan Brunetta (L) of Santos celebrates with Harold Preciado (R) after scoring the team’s second goal during the 9th round match between Santos Laguna and Puebla as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on February 26, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico.
Juan Francisco Brunetta (L) and Harold Preciado have combined for seven of Santos’ 13 goals on the season.
Photo by Armando Marin/Jam Media/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss on the road against Pachuca, Santos returns to the friendly confines of Estadio Corona to host last place Necaxa. While Santos had the opportunity to jump as high as third place with a win last week, they enter this week in eleventh, just in the repechaje zone. While perhaps not technically a must win match, Santos can ill afford to drop points against teams at the bottom of the table if they’re going to play postseason soccer.

Entering the week, Harold Preciado was tied with Tijuana’s Carlos González for the league lead in goals with five, however he has scored just one goal in the past four games. Juan Francisco Brunetta has picked up the slack however, scoring three of his four goals during the same four game stretch that his teammate has gone cold. As long as the goals keep coming, Santos will be competitive however. They’ve scored 13 on the season, but have let in 14, with their only shutout being a 0-0 draw against Atlas back in Week 3.

Eduardo Fentanes head coach of Necaxa looks on prior the 8th round match between Necaxa and FC Juarez as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MXat Victoria Stadium on September 16, 2023 in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Former Santos manager Eduardo Fentanes has taken over at Necaxa after the club started the season 0-3-4 under Nacho Ambriz.
Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

Necaxa meanwhile have been ok on the defensive side of things, letting in just 12 goals on the season. Their issue however is a league low five goals scored on the season, with Facundo Batista scoring three of those. If there’s any consolation for Los Rayos, it’s that Pachuca was in the same position entering their match against Santos last week.

Necaxa’s 100th anniversary hasn’t gone to plan, as they have just four draws on the season and fired head coach Ignacio “Nacho” Ambriz eight weeks into the season, bringing in former Santos manager Eduardo Fentanes, marking the first time Fentanes will face Los Guerreros since he was fired at the end of last season.

Santos should have a clear advantage against a poorly performing team and a coach they’re intimately familiar with, however the “new coach bounce” is real and Los Rayos were able to get a 1-1 draw against a good Juárez side last week.