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Match recap: Monarcas Morelia 3, Santos Laguna 1

Monarcas gets two from the spot to down defending champions Santos in Morelia.

Cruz Azul v Morelia - Torneo Clausura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

After a good first match, Santos Laguna was hoping to follow up with a solid outing against Monarcas. Morelia however was looking to rebound from a difficult loss and was able to capitalize on two penalties, downing the defending champions 3-1.

The first half was mostly a defensive affair. In the fifth minute, Monarcas would get a good chance when Irven Ávila got a header on a cross from within the six yard box but Carlos Acevedo was there to make the stop. Monarcas did well to control the pace of play early, keeping their passes simple and not allowing Santos to counter.

In the sixteenth minute Ávila would have another header, this time off of an Emanuel Loeschbor free kick. Again Acevedo read it perfectly and tipped it out for a corner kick. On the other end in the 20th minute, Carlos Orrantia would unleash a shot that had goalkeeper Sebastián Sosa beaten but would just miss wide. In the 30th minute, Ray Sandoval would hit a shot from distance, but Acevedo saw it all the way and made the save easily.

Santos’ center back pairing of Gerardo Alcoba and Hugo Nervo showed signs of becoming a cohesive unit, really limiting the space afforded to Ávila and Monarcas’ offense. To their credit, Gabriel Achillier and Monarcas’ defense were equally up to the task, keeping Santos’ Jonathan Rodríguez and Julio Furch in check for most of the first half.

Rodríguez would get sprung on a fantastic pas from Jesús Angul down the left side and hit a curling shot in the 45th minute that Sosa had to make a diving save on.

Both sides would come out swinging offensively in the second half, with Acevedo being forced to make a stop on a Carlos Fierro stop and then immediately at the other end Sosa having to make a stop on a shot.

Monarcas would finally break through in the 51st minute when Ray Sandoval got on the end of a Carlos Fierro cross and headed it past Acevedo for Morelia’s first goal of the season.

Santos would get a good look in the 75th minute when Julio Furch got a good header in on goal but Sosa was in position and made a solid save. Two minutes later though Miguel Sansores would get an elbow from behind by Hugo Nervo and go down in the box. The penalty was whistled, and Diego Valdés would drill home the penalty to give Monarcas the 2-0 lead.

It would get worse for Santos, when in the 88th minute Acevedo would try to get to a loose ball in the box and in the process of sliding for it bowled over Carlos Fierro. Another penalty was whistled, and Miguel Sansores would convert.

Santos would draw one back as the clock struck 90’ when Julio Furch got on the end of a long ball sent into the box, finally beating Sosa to give Santos the consolation goal.

Morelia will head to Guadalajara to face Chivas in Copa MX play on Tuesday before heading across the country to Veracruz to face Tiburones Rojos on Friday. Santos will head to Pachuca to face Los Tuzos on Tuesday in the Copa MX before heading home to host Puebla on Sunday.

Monarcas Morelia: Sebastián Sosa; Efraín Velarde, Emanuel Loeschbor (Jorge Valadéz, 67’), Gabriel Achillier, Carlos Guzmán; Ray Sandoval (Gaston Lezcano, 80’), Roberto Meraz, Diego Valdés, Rodrigo Millar, Carlos Fierro; Irven Ávila (Miguel Sansores, 70’)

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Jesús Angulo, Hugo Nervo, Gerardo Alcoba, José Abella; Brian Lozano, José Juan Vázquez, Osvaldo Martínez (Eduardo Herrera, 73’), Carlos Orrantia (Diego De Buen, 59’) ; Jonathan Rodríguez (Cris Martínez, 73’), Julio Furch

Scoring: Monarcas Morelia - Ray Sandoval (51’), Diego Valdés (79’ - penalty), Miguel Sansores (88’ - penalty); Santos Laguna - Julio Furch (90+1’)

Disciplinary: Monarcas Morelia - Ray Sandoval (Yellow - 21’), Rodrigo Millar (Yellow - 83’); Santos Laguna - Jesús Angulo (Yellow - 41’)