Despite being outplayed for much of the match, Necaxa would get goals from Facundo Castro and Rodrigo Contreras and hand Santos Laguna their first home loss since April 22, 2018. Julio Furch picked up the lone goal for Santos, who fall out of the Liguilla standings.
Santos looked good in the opening minutes, taking the game to Necaxa and keeping players back to account for Necaxa’s counterattack. Gerardo Arteaga did well to keep Brian Fernández within his sights, getting assistance from Hugo Nervo when needed. In the 15th minute, Fernández was played in and looked to have goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo beat but out of nowhere Arteaga executed a perfectly timed sliding tackle to clear the ball over the end line.
A minute later, Necaxa would get on the board when Facundo Castro would lay the ball off to Ángel Sepúlveda, who shot hard at Acevedo. Acevedo would give up a long rebound, and Castro would continue his run and hit the ball past the prone goalkeeper.
After the goal Necaxa played fairly conservatively, keeping players behind the ball and looking to ensure Santos’ attack couldn’t get chances at goal. Santos had a good chance off of a free kick deep that Brian Lozano almost hooked in from a sharp angle. Hugo González would punch the ball out, a resulting shot would hit a defender, and eventually the ball would be cleared out.
As the clock eclipsed 45 minutes, there would be a bit of controversy as Santos would break down field. Javier Correa would go in one on one with Alexis Peña, and there would be contact between the players when Peña executed a sliding tackle. Both players went to the ground, and a penalty was awarded by referee Fernando Guerrero. After Guerrero reviewed the play using VAR, he rescinded the call.
At the start of the second half, Santos immediately went down into Necaxa territory and hit a cross to Julio Furch. Furch’s touch however would redirect the ball to the wrong side of the net. In the 51st minute, a hard foul on Brian Lozano would set up a free kick from 20 yards out for Santos. The free kick was true, but González made a fantastic save to keep the hosts off of the board.
Santos would break thorugh in the 54th minute however when Hugo González went to restart play after picking the ball up. It’s not clear if the ball slipped or González jumply rolled it far too softly, but Furch was right there to get the ball, turn, and fire past a stunned Necaxa defense.
In the 61st minute, Fernández would get played through and had a fantastic opportunity to reclaim the lead for Los Rayos, but his shot hit off of the outside of the post and out. In the 70th minute, José Abella was played in on goal but his sliding attempt at goal went into the side netting. In the 82nd minute, Kevin Mercado would come out injured for César Aguirre. Mercado seemed to be checking out his hamstring or groin as he was riding the cart off of the pitch.
In the 84th minute, Acevedo would come up huge when Aguirre would get on the end of a corner kick that meandered through traffic. His close range shot looked destined for goal, but Acevedo would deflect the ball out to preserve the score.
As the clok passed the threshold into added time, Necaxa would win a corner kick. When the ball was put into play, it would fall to Rodrigo Contreras. Contreras turned and fired past Acevedo, silencing a stunned crowd and handing Santos their first loss at home in regular season play last year.
When Liga MX resumes after the international break Santos will head to Guadalajara to face Atlas on Friday, March 29. Necaxa will play Veracruz the following day at home in Aguascalientes.
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Gerardo Arteaga, Hugo Rodríguez, Hugo Nervo, José Abella; Marlos Moreno (Deinner Quiñones, 61;), Diego Valdés, José Juan Vázquez, Brian Lozano (Carlos Orrantía, 84’); Javier Correa, Julio Furch
Necaxa: Hugo González; Osmar Mares, Ventura Alvarado, Alexis Peña, Fernando Meza; Facundo Castro (Kevin Mercado, 46’; César Aguirre, 82’), Felipe Gallegos, Fernando González, Rodrigo Contreras; Brian Fernández, Ángel Sepúlveda (Eduardo Herrera, 67’)
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Julio Furch (54’); Necaxa - Facundo Castro (16’), Rodrigo Contreras (90+1’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - José Abella (Yellow - 68’), Diego Valdés (Yellow - 87’); Necaxa - Alexis Peña (Yellow - 70’), Rodrigo Contreras (Yellow - 90+1’)