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Match recap: Atlas FC 3, Santos Laguna 2

Santos almost pulls off a heroic comeback but ultimately succumbs to Atlas in Guadalajara.

Atlas v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Two goals from Milton Caraglio and two yellow cards to Osvaldo Martínez helped spoil Djaniny Tavares’ return to Liga MX and propel Atlas to a 3-2 win over Santos Laguna. Julio Furch also had a brace in the losing effort from Los Guerreros.

Prior to the start of the match, the Santos players all wore shirts that read “Fuerza Nestor” in honor of Néstor Araujo, who was injured in the Mexico match against Croatia earlier in the week.

Atlas fans on the other hand unveiled this massive tifo.

Once the match got underway, Atlas did well early on to retain possession and get men back behind the ball once possession was lost. In the ninth minute, Stiven Barreiro got his head on a cross into the box from Ulises Cardona, but it went just wide of Jonathan Orozco’s goal. A minute later, Brian Lozano would rush downfield and get himself out of a bit of trouble with some quick cuts but the resulting shot wasn’t well hit and missed debutante goalkeeper José Hernández’ goal.

In the 21st minute, Atlas would get on the board first when instead of shooting the free kick at the wall he passed it square to Edyarith Ortega. Ortega hit a bending shot that made its way through traffic and into the net.

Ortega was one of four young players on the pitch for Atlas. These players provided a spark to what has been an otherwise droll Atlas offense this season, which begs the question; “Why didn’t they give the kids that opportunity earlier in the season?”

Atlas would add to their lead in the 37th minute when Milton Caraglio was able to slip past Carlos Izquierdoz and hit a tight angle shot that beat Jona Orozco far post.

Santos looked to have pulled one back minutes later, however it was ruled to be offside. The television replay wasn’t from a flush angle so it was difficult to tell if it was a good call or not.

It was obvious from the start that Atlas had done their homework on Santos. They were dropping men back into gaps and anticipating long, cross-field passes from the Santos full backs up to the wingers on the opposing side of the field and Santos’ attack suffered.

Djaniny Tavares made his return after the break, coming on for Jesús Isijara. Santos got off to a decent start, with Jonathan Rodríguez taking a shot that forced Hernández to make a diving stop just a minute into the half.

In the 48th minute however, Carlos Izquierdoz would mistime a tackle on Bryan Garnica in the box and referee Erick Miranda would award the penalty.

Milton Caraglio would convert the penalty to put the hosts up 3-0.

Things would go from bad to worse for Santos as Osvaldo Martínez would pick up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes, and the visitors would find themselves down three goals and a man. Santos would draw one back though in the 68th minute when Edwin Cetré sprinted down the right and hit a cross to Julio Furch, who headed it in past Hernández.

Minutes later, it would be Furch again when Djaniny slipped his defender and put a shot on Hernández. Hernández made the stop but the rebound went directly to Furch, who hit a high hard shot that the goalkeeper had no shot whatsoever on.

The momentum would shift back toward Atlas though. In the 82nd minute, Jona Orozco would make a fantastic save on a Leiton Jiménez. In the 89th, Orozco would make a pair of saves on shots to keep Santos in it, but ultimately being down three goals and a man would be too much for Santos to overcome.

Next week, Atlas will head to the frontera norte to face off against Tijuana on Friday. Santos will head to Aguascalientes to face Necaxa in the Copa MX semifinal before returning to Torreón to host Querétaro FC on Sunday

Atlas FC: José Hernandez; Daniel Arreola, Stiven Barreiro, Leiton Jiménez, Ismael Govea; Edyarith Ortega (Edgar Zaldívar, 85’), Rafa Marquez, Clifford Aboagye; Ulises Cardona (Ían Torres, 60’), Bryan Garnica (Ángelo Henríquez, 77’), Milton Caraglio

Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Jorge Villafaña, Gerardo Alcoba, Carlos Izquierdoz, José Abello; Brian Lozano (Javier Cortés, 75’), José Juan Vázquez, Osvaldo Martínez, Jesús Isijara (Djaniny Tavares, 46’); Julio Furch, Jonathan Rodríguez (Edwin Cetré, 66’)

Scoring: Atlas FC - Edyarith Ortega (21’), Milton Caraglio (37’, 51’); Santos Laguna - Julio Furch (68’, 70’)

Disciplinary: Atlas FC - Rafa Marquez (Yellow - 47’), Edgar Zaldívar (Yellow - 90’); Santos Laguna - Carlos Izquierdoz (Yellow - 49’), Osvaldo Martínez (Yellow - 54’; Yellow - 56’), Jonathan Rodríguez (Yellow - 62’), Julio Furch (Yellow - 79’)