Santos Laguna finds themselves back at the top of the Liga MX table after downing Cruz Azul 2-0. Cape Verdean striker Djaniny Tavares got his 11th goal of the season while Jonathan Orozco got his third clean sheet of the 2018 Clausura.
It was Cruz Azul that would start out hot though. On the opening kickoff, Cruz Azul’s Martín Cauteruccio ran down the pitch and even with contact seemingly being made by Santos Laguna captain Carlos Izquierdoz, he was able to get off a decent shot. It was stopped by Santos goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, and referee Oscar Mejia kept his whistle in his pocket despite the shouts from Cauteruccio.
Minutes later, Santos winger Jesús Isijara was able to get isolated one on one along the right side. He was able to shake his man but the resulting shot went high and wide. Cruz Azul had another good opportunity in the 13th minute as Edgar Méndez found himself wide open on the right flank, however his shot went high and wide of Orozco’s net.
The teams were able to settle more into a rhythm over the next few minutes, however neither team had a decided advantage when it came to chances. In the 35th minute, Isijara sent a fantastic ball forward for Djaniny Tavares, who was in on Jesús “Chuy” Corona. He hit a square ball across to Osvaldo Martínez, who sent it over to an onrushing Julio Furch, whose shot was stopped by Corona. Chuy did well to also not touch Furch and concede the penalty.
Minutes later, Furch would have another attempt on goal however this one would hit off of the post. The resulting shot by Isijara would go well high of the goal.
In the 52nd minute, Djaniny would get a great cross in from Isijara, but his first touch let him down and the ball went straight to Chuy Corona. Djaniny would get another chance a few minutes later, however he slipped on the breakaway and the ball rolled over the end line. A minute later, he was in on Corona and while there was contact from Chuy, it was not deemed to be significant enough to be whistled a penalty.
It didn’t matter though, as in the 60th minute Isijara was streaking down the left flank. He sent a curling pass in toward Furch, and Corona braced himself for the inevitable header - except it never came. Furch made no contact and the ball bounced and went in, giving Isijara his first goal of the torneo and Santos the lead.
Santos almost had another in the 77th minute when a great cross came to Djaniny, who sent it over to Furch. It went just behind Furch though and the chance was missed. The resulting corner kick went straight to Araujo, whose header was pushed away by Corona - however it fell to Djaniny who hit it in on the half-volley to put Santos up 2-0 and tie the 2017 Apertura mark for most goals scored held by Avilés Hurtado and Mauro Boselli.
That would be more than enough for Santos, who find them tied for the lead in Liga MX with Club América in points (although they’re behind them in the table solely due to goal differential). Cruz Azul however still haven’t won since January 13 and find themselves fifteenth out of eighteen.
Santos have a Tuesday Copa MX match at TSM against Mineros de Zacatecas before heading to Necaxa to face Rayos on Saturday. Cruz Azul will return home to Mexico City to host Querétaro FC on Saturday.
Club Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Jorge Villafaña, Néstor Araujo, Carlos Izquierdoz, José Abella; José Vázquez, Jesús Isijara; Brian Lozano (David Andrade, 90’), Osvaldo Martínez (Diego De Buen, 71’), Djaniny Tavares; Julio Furch (Edwin Cetré, 87’)
Cruz Azul: Jesús Corona; Adrián Aldrete (Walter Montoya, 67’), Julio Domínguez, Enzo Roco, Gerardo Flores; Francisco Silva, Rafael Baca; Ángel Mena (Martín Rodríguez, 62’), Édgar Méndez; Felipe Mora, Martín Cauteruccio (Carlos Fierro, 46’)
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Jesús Isijara (60’), Djaniny Tavares (78’); Cruz Azul - None
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Néstor Araujo (Yellow - 8’); Cruz Azul - Enzo Roco (Yellow - 27’), Brian Lozano (Yellow - 88’); Ángel Mena (Yellow - 52’), Gerardo Flores (Yellow - 86’)