Santos came into the match without their talisman, striker Julio Furch. But goals from Hugo Nervo and Ayrton Preciado would get the visitors the victory at Estadio Azteca.
In the fifth minute there was a bit of controversy as Orbelín Pineda was played in on goal. José Abella came in on a sliding tackle and Pineda went down in the box, but referee Eduardo Galvan emphatically waved off any penalty. Replays showed some contact was made, however the referee’s decision stood and was not reviewed with VAR.
Cruz Azul threatened early, keeping possession well and not allowing Santos to gain much momentum in the early portion of the game. To their credit Santos didn’t allow any clear chances at goal, ensuring the shots were poor attempts that were off target or blocked.
Cruz Azul would finally get a good chance on goal in the 22nd when ex-Santos forward Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez was played onside on the left wing. He’d take a couple of touches to draw the defense, and crossed it over to Milton Caraglio, who ran the ball into the net to give the hosts the lead.
In a very un-Pedro Caixinha way, Cruz Azul kept pushing for a second goal but it would be Santos that would get the next goal. In the 29th minute, José Abella hit a shot off of the post that made it’s way back to him along the end line. He swung the ball back in to an unmarked Hugo Nervo, who hit a powerful shot past Jesús Corona to draw the sides level.
Cabecita and Caraglio almost hooked up for another goal in the 34th minute, but Caraglio was adjudged to have played the ball to Rodríguez while he was in an offside position and the goal was annulled. This would come back to haunt La Maquina, as in the 46th minute a defensive error from Pablo Aguilar played Ayrton Preciado in all alone. He took a touch and hit a right footed shot that Corona had no shot at stopping to give the visitors the 2-1 lead.
1-2— ClubSantosLaguna (@ClubSantosEn) February 17, 2019
⏱️ 47' GOOOOOOAL! Ayrton Preciado makes it 2-1, capitalizing off a Cruz Azul defensive error.
Esa es, Guerreros!! pic.twitter.com/Dtm1gbCAcL
Javier Correa had a fantastic opportunity to extend the lead in the 61st minute when he went past a sliding Adrián Aldrete and in on goal. Igor Lichnovsky was able to close him down and force his shot directly into Jesús Corona.
As time went on, Santos began to beat Pedro Caixinha at his own game, keeping players back and organized while not sending too many men forward when in possession. They would frustrate Cruz Azul and grind out an important win.
Cruz Azul will host Alebrijes Oaxaca on Tuesday in Copa MX play before heading to Veracruz to take on Tiburones Rojos on Friday. Santos heads to San Pedro Sula in Honduras to against Marathón in Concacaf Champions League play before heading back to Torreón to host Toluca in Liga MX play on Sunday.
Cruz Azul: Jesús Corona; Adrián Aldrete, Igor Lichnovsky, Pablo Aguilar, Julio Domínguez; Orbelín Pineda, Yoshimar Yotún, Javier Salas (Misael Domínguez, 58’), Jonathan Rodríguez; Roberto Alvarado (Martín Cauteruccio, 71’), Milton Caraglio (Martín Zuñiga, 81’)
Esta es la alineación de La Máquina presentada por @calientesports con la que enfrentará a Santos.— CRUZ AZUL FC ® (@Cruz_Azul_FC) February 16, 2019
Los jugadores suplentes son:
21. Jair Peláez
26. Josué Reyes
14. Misael Domínguez
20. Alexis Gutiérrez
7. Martín Cauteruccio
22. Rafael Baca
28. Martín Zúñiga#EternamenteAzul pic.twitter.com/IxJb2EXG0R
Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Gerardo Arteaga, Matheus Doría, Hugo Nervo, José Abella; Diego Valdés (Diego De Buen, 80’), José Juan Vázquez; Ayrton Preciado (Marlos Moreno, 70’), Ulíses Rivas, Brian Lozano (Eduardo Aguirre, 90+1’); Javier Correa
Scoring: Cruz Azul - Milton Caraglio (22’); Santos Laguna - Hugo Nervo (29’), Ayrton Preciado (46’)
Disciplinary: Cruz Azul - Roberto Alvarado (Yellow - 21’), Adrián Aldrete (Yellow - 65’), Julio Domínguez (Yellow - 87’), Jesús Corona (Yellow - 90+3); Santos Laguna - Marlos Moreno (Yellow - 72’)