Santos and Veracruz fought to a 1-1 draw in the afternoon sun in Torreón. Santos goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco put on a show, a perfect outing marred by one brilliant moment from Tiburones Rojos’ Cristian “Polaco” Menéndez.
For Santos, midfielder José Juan “Gallito” Vázquez was held out as a precaution, citing “aggravation in his Pectineus muscle (left hip).” Ulises Rivas would get the start in Gallito’s place for Los Guerreros.
It was Veracruz that established a rhythm and flow early on, pressuring Santos and earning several corner kicks. Jonathan Orozco would make a couple of fantastic saves on a couple of breakaway opportunities, keeping the visitors off of the board. Santos meanwhile had a couple of opportunities but were stymied by the Veracruz defense.
The flow of the play in the latter part of the first half would be degraded by a multitude of fouls, resulting in two yellow cards for each team.
Santos would break through in the second half when shortly after the restart Brian Lozano went down the left flank. He hit a perfect cross to fellow Uruguayan Jonathan Rodríguez, who got his toe on the ball and poked it past Pedro Gallese.
Minutes later, Orozco would come up big to keep Santos in the lead. Bryan Carrasco would get a shot on goal that Orozco would parry. The rebound was headed on frame by Jefferson Murillo, and Orozco was somehow able to dive back across the mouth of the goal and swipe it away. That rebound fell to Diego Chávez, whose shot went straight into the post and out.
Unfortunately for Orozco, he wouldn’t be able to stop them all. A few minutes later, Jefferson Murillo would flick one across in front of goal. Cristian “Polaco” Menéndez was there and backheeled the ball past Orozco to draw the sides level.
Both sides fought for the equalizer, but in the end it would not come. Santos will head to Aguascalientes to face Necaxa on Saturday. Veracruz will head home and host León on Friday.
Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Jesús Angulo (Gerardo Arteaga, 63’), Matheus Doría, Hugo Nervo, Javier Abella; Brian Lozano, Ulises Rivas, Osvaldo Martínez (Ayrton Preciado, 72’), Jesús Isijara (Deinner Quiñones, 77’); Jonathan Rodríguez, Julio Furch
Your starting XI, Guerrero!— ClubSantosLaguna (@ClubSantosEn) September 23, 2018
Available subs: Acevedo, Arteaga, Orrantia, De Buen, Castro, Quiñones, Preciado pic.twitter.com/XdXQiP6Vee
Veracruz: Pedro Gallese; Jesús Paganoni (Osmar Mares. 69’), Hibert Ruíz, José Rivas, Rodrigo Noya, Bryan Carrasco; Diego Chávez (César Landa, 79’), Wilder Cartagena; Adrián Luna, Cristian Menéndez, Ronaldo Prieto (Jefferson Murillo, 57’)
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Jonathan Rodríguez (48’); Veracruz - Cristian Menéndez (71’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Jesús Angulo (Yellow - 20’), Osvaldo Martínez (Yellow - 42’); Veracruz - Wilder Cartagena (Yellow - 18’), Ronaldo Prieto (Yellow - 27’), Rodrigo Noya (Yellow - 50’), José Rivas (Yellow - 77’)