Club América was able to keep their Liguilla hopes alive while snuffing out Santos Laguna’s with a 1-0 win that saw a player from both teams sent off.
From the onset, América pressed and contained the flow of play with Santos having to defend. For all of América’s early opportunities however, Santos was able to stand resolute and resist the pressure. Jonathan Orozco made a fantastic save in the early minutes to keep the score level.
They would finally crack in the 13th minute however when Matheus Doría held on to Guido Rodríguez during a corner kick. The referee did not hesitate and awarded the penalty. Emanuel Aguilera would step up and convert to give the hosts the early lead.
Santos would gain some of the momentum back during the first half, and América would commit some unforced errors. For instance, in the 31st minute the normally sure-footed Guido Rodríguez would dribble out over his own end line to concede a corner kick to Santos. The visitors were however unable to convert on the chance.
Santos that started the second half off on the front foot, perhaps realizing the gravity and urgency of the situation with regards to their Liguilla hopes. They pressed hard, limiting the space and time that América had on the ball. In the 59th, Santos would get a free kick just outside of the box. Diego Valdés’ shot would curl just on the outside of the post.
In the 70th minute, José Abella committed a hard foul on Roger Martínez. After looking at the replay at the VAR booth, the referee returned to the field and showed Abella a straight red card. Anérica wouldn’t hold the advantage for long though, as Paul Aguilar was shown two straight yellow cards in the 78th and 79th minutes and was sent off as well.
Try as they might though Santos was unable to break through the América defenses, and the hosts would win all three points on the night. With the loss, Santos are eliminated from the Liguilla and América can all but lock up a Liguilla spot with a win against Veracruz next Friday. Santos will host Pumas next week on Sunday.
Club América: Agustín Marchesín; Jorge Sánchez, Emanuel Aguilera, Bruno Valdez (Henry Martín, 76’), Paul Aguilar; Andrés Ibargüen (Matheus Uribe, 64’), Guido Rodríguez, Edson Álvarez, Renato Ibarra; Roger Martínez; Nicolás Castillo (Carlos Vargas, 82’)
Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Gerardo Arteaga, Matheus Doría, Hugo Nervo, José Abella; Brian Lozano (Marlos Moreno, 66’), Ulíses Rívas, José Juan Vázquez (Diego Valdés, 57’), Carlos Orrantía (Ayrton Preciado, 51’); Javier Correa, Julio Furch
Scoring: Club América - Emanuel Aguilera (Penalty - 14’); Santos Laguna - None
Disciplinary: Club América - Paul Aguilar (Yellow - 78’, Yellow 79’); Santos Laguna - José Abella (Red, 72’)