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The CONCACAF Champions League is in full swing, with 24 sides from the region all battling to become one of the eight quarter-finalists. The Liga MX and MLS sides are always among the favorites, but every year one of two of them slip up in the group stage and head home early. Could reigning Liga MX champions Santos Laguna be this year’s casualties?
Santos Laguna slump to shock CONCACAF Champions League defeat
08/26/2015
 
Saprissa vs Santos Laguna, CONCACAF Champions League

By Dan Price



The CONCACAF Champions League is in full swing, with 24 sides from the region all battling to become one of the eight quarter-finalists.


The Liga MX and MLS sides are always among the favorites, but every year one of two of them slip up in the group stage and head home early. Could reigning Liga MX champions Santos Laguna be this year’s casualties?

Deportivo Saprissa (COS) 2-1 Santos Laguna

Saprissa vs Santos, CONCACAF Champions League

Outside of Mexico and the United States, the sides from Costa Rica always pose the biggest threat.


In last year’s tournament, three of the quarter-finalists and two of the semi-finalists were from the country.  Indeed, the last two non-Mexican sides to lift the trophy were both Costa Rican – with Alajuelense victorious in 2004 and Deportivo Saprissa winning it in 2005.


Nonetheless, on paper Santos are a much better side than Saprissa. With a starting eleven of Marchesin, Aldrete, Izquierdoz, Orrantia, Araujo, Abella, Gonzalez, Molina, Calderon, Orozco, and Djaniny, you would expect them to win easily.


It started well when Javier Orozco fired them ahead in the 20th minute, but a 55th minute equaliser from Marvin Angulo and a 78th minute own goal from Nestor Araujo saw them lose the game 2-1.


It leaves them second in Group A, three points behind Saprissa who have a 100 percent record from their two games so far.

San Francisco (PAN) vs Queretaro (Wednesday, 8pm EDT)

Emanuel Villa, Queretaro, Liga MX

Queretaro are not without their own troubles in this season’s tournament.


An opening day 2-0 win over San Francisco was quickly forgotten after a hugely disappointing 0-0 with Belizean side Hankook Verdes in their tournament debut.


They now travel to Panama for the return game against San Francisco knowing that a loss would leave them in a precarious position. They currently top group four with four points, but have played a game more than both their rivals. Defeat tonight would leave them one point clear of their opponents, but San Francisco would still have two games remaining, both against the Belizean minnows.


With that in mind you can expect a strong line up from the Mexicans. The in-form Tito Villa, Brazilian playmaker Danilinho, and the experienced Sinha should all start.

Herediano (COS) vs Tigres UANL (Wednesday, 10pm EDT)

Tigres UANL

America aren’t on Champions League duty this week, which means the last of the Mexican sides to see action are Tigres.


After the problems encountered by Santos in Costa Rica, Tuca Ferretti will be well-aware this is a potential banana skin for his side. Herediano beat America 3-0 at home in the first leg of last season’s semi-final, and will not roll over easily for their more esteemed opponents.


In their opener Tigres were extremely lucky to escape with all three points against Isidro Metapan. A similarly dismal performance tonight would probably see them leave with nothing.


Their form has improved in recent weeks, and they’ve won the last three games in all competitions. They will be keen to extend their run to four and maintain their momentum.

 
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