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Match recap: Santos Laguna 3, Cruz Azul 1

Santos clinches the superlíder at home, downing Cruz Azul 3-1.

Club Santos Laguna press release

Cruz Azul knew going into the match that two points was all that separated them and the superlíder. They’d get all three against Cruz Azul, thanks to goals from Gerardo Arteaga, Brian Lozano, and Octavio Rivero, remaining unbeaten at TSM Corona on the season.

Cruz Azul was without Adrián Aldrete, due to a hamstring injury (reported as a muscle injury to the right back thigh). Santos was without Jonathan Orozco, who missed his second straight match with an injury to his right adductor. The game started out with Santos looking the better quality side. Brian Lozano had a good look at goal in the ninth minute that was blocked out for a corner kick.

Cruz Azul wasn’t able to get much of anything going, as time and again their passes were intercepted by a Santos player or simply missed the mark. A turnover in the 21st led to their best chance to that point when Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez had a shot from just inside of the box but it was deflected out by Dória. Then a minute later a shot by Roberto “Piojo” Alvarado was headed off of the line by Hugo Rodríguez.

Santos would get on the board in the 30th minute when Cruz Azul was unable to clear a corner kick out of the box. The ball came to Brian Lozano, who hit a shot off of a defender right to Gerardo Arteaga. Arteaga hit a shot through traffic and Jesús “Chuy” Corona didn’t even see it until it was too late.

Then two minutes later Santos was able to break and Lozano was able to hit a shot that beat Chuy to the far post to double the lead and give “Huevo” his ninth goal of the season.

In the second half Santos pressured Cruz Azul in to turnovers and always seemed a step ahead of La Maquina. Cruz Azul would get one back in the 57th minute when Igor Lichnovsky got his head to a free kick and it caught Carlos Acevedo wrong-footed.

Santos kept pushing for a third goal and had a shout for a penalty in the 60th when a shot hit a Cruz Azul player high, but the referee judged (and the replay subsequently confirmed) it hit the player in the chest and shoulder and not the arm. Matheus Dória would have a header a couple minutes later that went just over the bar.

In the 86th, Santos would spring a fantastic counterattack. Carlos Acevedo threw the ball most of the length of the field. Brian Lozano was able to chase it down and hit a shot that Chuy Corona was able to stop but Octavio Rivero was there to tap the rebound home to ensure Santos would win the superlíder in front of their fans.

Santos will end the season in Toluca against Los Diablos Rojos on Sunday the 24th while Cruz Azul hosts Atlético San Luis on Saturday the 23rd.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Gerardo Arteaga, Hugo Rodríguez, Matheus Dória, Emilio Orrantía; Diego Valdés (Adrián Lozano, 79’), Fernando Gorriarán, Ulíses Rívas (Edgar Games, 71’), Brian Lozano; Eryc Castillo, Julio Furch (Octavio Rivero, 76’)

Cruz Azul: Jesús Corona; Julio Domínguez, Igor Lichnovsky (Jaiber Jiménez, 70’), Pablo Aguilar, Juan Escobar; Javier Salas (Bryan Angulo, 76’), Josué Domínguez, Rafael Baca, Roberto Alvarado; Milton Caraglio, Jonathan Rodríguez (Orbelín Pineda, 67’)

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Gerardo Arteaga (30’), Brian Lozano (32’), Octavio Rivero (86’); Cruz Azul - Igor Lichnovsky (56’)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Matheus Dória (Yellow - 7’); Cruz Azul - Igor Lichnovsky (Yellow - 21’), Pablo Aguilar (Yellow - 53’)