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2018 Liga MX Apertura Liguilla match recap: Santos Laguna 0, Monterrey 2

The champions’ reign has come to an end, as Santos falls at home to Rayados.

Santos Laguna v Monterrey - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos Laguna put forth their best effort, however goals from Nicolás Sánchez and Rogelio Funes Mori would ensure that the reigning champions would reign no longer.

A couple of mistakes almost hurt Santos early on. A poor header back from Matheus Doría fell to Rogelio Funes Mori. Funes Mori went one-on-one with José Abella, who slipped and fell on the turf. Luckily for the hosts Hugo Nervo was back and able to force Funes Mori into a tight angle shot that went into the side netting.

The game would settle down for the most part. The teams were often able to run from box to box without much opposition, only really getting tested from about 25-30 yards from goal. Santos had a good chance in the 14th minute as Julio Furch slipped his defender and went in on goal. Furch would play it out wide to Jesús Isijara on the right, who hit a cross back centrally. A sliding Osvaldo Martínez would be closest to getting a touch on it, but instead he wound up wiping out Nicolás Sánchez and drawing the first yellow card of the evening.

In the 24th Isijara would hit another cross, this time directed at Jonathan Rodríguez. “Cabecito” would also miss on the sliding poke, however he’d get up, corral the ball, make a run from left to right, and fire a shot that skimmed the top of the bar.

There was a scary moment in the 26th minute when Marcelo Barovero went up to grab a ball. Stefan Medina would unwittingly undercut his goalkeeper, causing Barovero to land awkwardly on his head and shoulder. After being checked out by the medical staff, Barovero would continue on to play. He’d be called in the 30th minute, forced to tip a shot over the bar to keep santos off the board.

In the 41st there was a bit of controversy as Avilés Hurtado went in on Jonathan Orozco. Doría made some slight contact from behind in the box, and Hurtado went down. Referee Jorge Rojas kept his whistle in his pocket, and when play stopped his ruling was confirmed by the VAR crew - much to the outrage of Hurtado and his Rayados teammates. Hurtado’s protestations would earn him a yellow card.

in the 51st minute it looked like Julio Furch had finally broken through, getting on the end of a cross and poking it past Barovero. It was however correctly ruled to be offside and the goal was disallowed. Just a minute later, Nicolás Sánchez would get his head onto a free kick and put it on net. Jonathan Orozco was able to get his hands on the ball but was unable to keep it out of the net, and the visiting Rayados fans went absolutely berserk.

It would go from bad to worse for the hosts minutes later when Rodolfo Pizarro would hit a ball in to Avilés Hurtado in the box. Hurtado would take a couple of deft touches to lose his man and play it wide to his right to Rogelio Funes Mori. Funes Mori would bury his shot and put the visitors up by three on the aggregate.

Santos would attempt to throw everything they had forward in a desperate attempt to score, but Monterrey was able to suffocate the hosts’ offensive efforts. Time after time Santos would press the ball up the field, only to run flush into a wall of blue jerseys. At the 90 minute mark, the referee blew his whistle and it was over.

Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; José Abella, Hugo Nervo, Matheus Doría, Jesús Angulo (Gerardo Arteaga, 68’); Brian Lozano, Osvaldo Martínez (Eduardo Herrera, 65’), José Juan Vázquez, Jesús Isijara; Jonathan Rodríguez (Ayrton Preciado, 62’), Julio Furch

Monterrey: Marcelo Barovero; Leonel Vangioni (Jesús Gallardo, 63’), José Basanta, Nicolás Sánchez, César Montes, Stefan Medina (Edson Gutiérrez; Celso Ortíz, Rodolfo Pizarro; Carlos Rodríguez; Rogelio Funes Mori (Dorlan Pabón, 80’), Avilés Hurtado

Scoring: Club Santos - None; Monterrey - Nicolás Sánchez (53’), Rogelio Funes Mori (59’)

Disciplinary: Club Santos - Osvaldo Martínez (Yellow - 14’), Jesús Isijara (Yellow - 74’) ; Monterrey - Leonel Vangioni (Yellow - 33’), Avilés Hurtado (Yellow - 43’), Stefan Medina (Yellow - 50’)