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Match recap: Toluca FC 2, Santos Laguna 1

Hernán Cristante’s Toluca was able to get Santos Laguna off of their game plan, a feat few other clubs in Liga MX have been able to do.

Cruz Azul v Toluca - Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

In a rematch of last season’s Liga MX Final, Toluca FC was able to defeat Santos Laguna 2-1 at Estadio Nemesio Díez. Hernán Cristante was able to throw Santos off of their game plan with physical play, leaving Los Guerreros struggling to find a rhythm.

Santos would however get out to an impressive start when in the fourth minute, Julio Furch took a pass from Jonathan Rodríguez on the left. His first shot was blocked, however his second shot beat Alfredo Talavera to give Los Guerreros the early lead.

The lead wouldn’t last long. In the 14th minute, William da Silva would corral a lose ball in the box, dribble through traffic, and hit a shot that beat Santos goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco to the far post.

The game was a physical affair, with referee Marco Ortiz keeping his whistle hot as players found themselves horizontal on the grass of Estadio Nemesio Díez. The teams combined for seven fouls and three yellow cards in the first half alone.

The play would go back and forth until the 60th minute when Matheus Doría went in hard on Luis Quiñones in the box and Ortiz gave the penalty. Rubens Sambueza would shoot to his left, Jona Orozco dove to Sambueza’s right, and the home side was up.

With the physical play, Toluca prevented Santos from playing their open, free-flowing attacking style. Santos wasn’t ever really able to dictate the tempo of the game for a prolonged period of time. Try as they might, the defending champions weren’t able to find an equalizer and it would be Toluca taking home the three points.

Toluca will host Tijuana in Copa MX play on Wednesday and then will head to Veracruz after the international break to face Tiburones Rojos on Friday the 14th. Santos will host León on Friday the 14th as well.

Toluca FC: Alfredo Talavera; Cristian Borja, Fernando Tobio (Santiago García, 30’), Osvaldo González, Rodrigo Salinas; Luis Quiñones, William da Silva (Pablo Barrientos, 86’), Antonio Ríos, Luis Mendoza; Alexis Vega, Enrique Triverio (Rubens Sambueza, 56’)

Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; José Abella, Hugo Nervo, Matheus Doría, Jesús Angulo (Gerardo Arteaga, 83’); Brian Lozano, José Juan Vázquez, Osvaldo Martínez (Deinner Quiñones, 79’), Jesús Isijara (Ayrton Preciado, 62’); Julio Furch, Jonathan Rodríguez

Scoring: Toluca FC - William da Silva (14’), Rubens Sambueza (62’ - penalty); Santos Laguna - Julio Furch (4’)

Disciplinary: Toluca FC - Osvaldo González (Yellow - 7’), Luis Quiñones (Yellow - 10’), Santiago García (Yellow - 74’), Alfredo Talavera (Yellow - 77’), Pablo Barrientos (Yellow - 88’); Santos Laguna - Matheus Doría (Yellow - 34’), José Abella (Yellow - 61’)