Cruz Azul’s Santiago Gimenez, right, celebrates scoring his side’s opening goal against Pachuca during a Mexican soccer league semifinal second leg match at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Saturday, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
- Mexico’s league season reaches its finale at Azteca Stadium at 9:15pm ET on Sunday
- Cruz Azul is favored for success after claiming a 1-0 win in the first leg clash
- See the odds and best bets below for Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna – Liga MX Clausura Finals Leg 2
Cruz Azul hosts Santos Laguna holding a one-goal first-leg lead as Mexico’s Liga MX Clausura season reaches its climax in Sunday’s final.
After finishing top of the regular season standings, Cruz now stands poised to win its first national title since 1997.
Meanwhile, Santos was the Clausura champion as recently as 2018 but is now rated as an outsider to claim the glory this time around.
Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna Odds
|Matchup||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna||CRU -0.25 (-155) | SAN +0.25 (+118)||CRU -106 | SAN +290 | DRAW +240||Ov 2.5 (+123) | Un 2.5 (-162)|
Odds taken on May 30.
At DraftKings, Cruz is priced as a -106 favorite for a home win at the vast Azteca Stadium while Santos is at +290. Further, the draw after 90 minutes is at +240 with kick-off at 9:15pm ET.
Cruz Azul has been on course for glory ever since it went through 15-matches unbeaten to finish on top of the regular-season standings.
Santos, meanwhile, battled through five Playoff fixtures to reach the final after finishing in fifth place in the regular campaign.
Crucial Away Goal in First Leg
Midfielder Luis Romo scored the 71st-minute winner, which handed Cruz a 1-0 win and a valuable away goal in the first leg of the final.
Both sides created chances in a lively first half. And Santos thought they had gone ahead in the 48th minute only for Eduardo Aguirre’s goal to be ruled offside.
It wasn’t to be. And now Santos faces a tough task against a Cruz outfit boasting a 12-game unbeaten streak at its HQ.
The recent statistical record is also against them with Cruz having won three of the most recent four meetings between these sides – with Santos winning just once.
The reasons why Cruz Azul will win the #LigaMX championship 🇲🇽#LaMaquina https://t.co/3fNn0lXUTT
— AS English (@English_AS) May 30, 2021
Cruz is, moreover, noted for its sound organization and defensive capability and it is likely to withstand Santos’s need to claim an early goal.
It suggests a tight game is in prospect with the draw after 90 minutes the most attractive offer here.
Cruz Azul vs Santos Laguna Stats
It was made clear from the early part of the season that Cruz might be about to end its long wait for a national championship title.
After losing its opening two games, it then remained undefeated in the 15 games stretching until the end of the regular-season campaign.
Finishing in first place meant that Cruz entered the playoffs at the last eight stage.
Their unbeaten run ended with a surprise 2-1 defeat by Toluca in the opening Playoff match. But Cruz progressed after a 3-1 home win in the return meeting.
The semifinal was a tight affair. Following a 0-0 first leg stalemate, Cruz was a 1-0 winner at home in the second leg thanks to a 51st-minute winner from forward Santiago Giminez.
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Rodriguez Hunts for Goals
Cruz may be concerned that leading scorer Jonathan Rodriguez has found the net only once in his last eight appearances – claiming a strike in the 3-1 defeat of Toluca.
But Cruz proved once again over the two-legged semifinal against Pachuca that they know how to find a way to win, even if it happens without too many frills.
🗣️ Guillermo Almada 🇺🇾: “On Sunday these players will give their lives, in a sporting sense, to achieve the objective that you (the fans) deserve. We are sure that we can do it.”#VaPor7i ⭐️#ModoGuerrero ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/ssUVMXyMJx
— Club Santos EN (@ClubSantosEn) May 30, 2021
Santos reached the final thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Puebla in the semifinal first leg. It was a case of job done as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat in the return leg but still advanced.
Its Playoff journey began with a 5-0 hammering of Queretaro.
Santos then met Monterrey in the quarterfinal. After a 2-1 first-leg win at home, Santos progressed following a 1-1 draw in the return game.
The successive defeats by Puebla in the semifinal second leg and by Cruz in the first leg of the final both suggest that Santos may be stumbling now it has reached the final stretch of the season.
However, they will be banking on the goal-scoring prowess of Mexican forward Aguirre, who has his seven goals in his last nine appearances – without finding the net in his last two outings.
Mexico’s season is split into two separate championships – the Apertura followed by the Clausura.
The Azteca stadium will host its 15th Liga MX final
as Cruz Azul weclome Santos Laguna next weekend.#LigaMX 🇲🇽https://t.co/asqcvl6dEr
— AS English (@English_AS) May 24, 2021
During 2020-21, both sections have been known as the “Guardianes” in honor of the work of Mexico’s health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To sum up this time around, Santos will push Cruz but the home side is tough and strong so a draw looks like the most valuable option on offer on this occasion.
Pick: Draw +240
John Dillon is a leading member of the UK’s sporting media, having spent three decades as a national newspaper soccer and sports writer, broadcaster and author. He has covered five World Cups, six European Championships and was Chief Sports Writer at the Daily Express for 14 years.