TORREON, Mexico – Uruguayan coach Dante Siboldi’s Santos Laguna is preparing to host Toluca, coached by Argentine Hernan Cristante, in the first leg of the Liga MX Clausura tournament final.
Santos Laguna hopes that the home-field advantage will pay dividends on Thursday against Toluca since it has only lost one league match at its stadium this year.
Siboldi’s objective is to win at home in the first leg of the series and head to Toluca on Sunday with the advantage.
“We have to figure out a way to win so we can arrive relaxed in Toluca, (since) the home team is strong and we have to be aware of that,” Santos Laguna’s Javier Cortes, a member of the Mexican national team that won the gold medal at the 2012 London Games, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Siboldi’s plan for Thursday is to use Cape Verdean Djaniny Tavares, the league’s top scorer, Argentine Julio Furch and Uruguayans Brian Lozano and Jonathan Rodriguez to attack Toluca’s defense.
The coach will rely on a defense anchored by Argentine Carlos Izquierdoz, Uruguayan Gerardo Alcoba and Mexican Jose Abella to prevent Toluca from scoring.
Santos Laguna took out the defending champion Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals and beat America in the semifinals.
On Sunday, Santos Laguna traveled to Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium and tied America 2-2, advancing to the final.
Santos Laguna won the semifinal series 6-3 in the aggregate over America, which was under tremendous pressure to score following the 4-1 thrashing it got on Thursday night in the first leg of the semifinal matchup.
Toluca, for its part, defeated Morelia in the quarterfinals and took out Tijuana in the semifinals.
Colombian striker Fernando Uribe put on a performance that will long be remembered by Toluca fans, scoring three goals and adding an assist in his club’s 4-1 semifinals victory over Tijuana on Sunday.