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Match recap: Cruz Azul 3, Santos Laguna 0

A poor showing from Santos sees La Maquina get their first points of the year.

Cruz Azul v Santos Laguna - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos’ road woes continue as they lose 3-0 to ex-manager Robert Dante Siboldi and Cruz Azul. Santos has lost both games they played on the road this year, suffering a 2-1 defeat to Tijuana in the first week of the season. La Maquina on the other hand are celebrating their first points of 2020.

Santos didn’t get out to a good start, and that would be the difference in the game. In the second minute, a turnover saw the ball go to former Guerrero Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez, and the Uruguayan made his former team pay with a shot that beat goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco to the near post. In a sign of respect, Cabecita didn’t celebrate much, opting for some muted hi-fives with teammates.

Santos settled down and was able to retain possession, but more often than not their forays into the opponent’s end wound up without a good chance on goal. Cruz Azul on the other hand was able to get off several shots, all of which missed the mark.

In the 30th Cruz Azul had a great chance when a free kick from “Piojo” Alvarado went to Igor Lichnovsky, whose shot Orozco pushed into the post. A follow up shot hit Orozco in the back, and the rebound sat on the ground for what seemed like an eternity before Mathues Dória cleared it off of the line.

In the 39th Cruz Azul almost scored again when Santiago Giménez was played in alone on Orozco but “Spider” stood firm and denied the youngster’s chance from close range.

The second half started off as poorly as the first for Santos, as a foul deep lead to a free kick. The kick went straight into the wall and ricocheted to Eliás Hernández, whose volley took a hop that froze Orozco and went into the back of the net.

Santos took of Diego Valdés and brought on youngster Edgar Games, and while it might not have been the cause, Santos looked much more energetic after the switch. Brian Lozano hit a shot that beat Jesús “Chuy” Corona but hit off of the post and out almost immediately after the change.

Jonathan Orozco made another spectacular save in the 60th minute, stopping a close range shot. In the 66th, Santos would have a jailbreak, and Julio Furch would be there to put the ball into the back of the net. It was reviewed, and reversed when replays showed the ball had crossed over the end line before being sent back in toward Furch. There was a bit of controversy as it wasn’t totally clear if the ball had completely crossed the line, but the referee chose not to review it himself and relied on the call from the VAR booth.

In the 79th, Félix Torres got the ball caught in his legs and turned it over to Eliás Hernández deep. Hernández passed it to Luis Romo, who hit a shot that took a deflection off of a sliding Santos defender and past Orozco.

At that point, the teams understood their respective fates and saw out the rest of the match. Cruz Azul will head an hour west to face Toluca on Sunday, while Santos will have a home-and-home series with Pumas, with a Copa MX match on Wednesday in CU and a Liga MX match on Sunday at TSM.

Cruz Azul: Jesús Corona; Adrián Aldrete, Igor Lichnovsky, Pablo Aguilar, Julio Domínguez; Roberto Alvarado (Edgar Mendez, 89’), Rafael Baca, Luis Romo, Eliás Hernández (Pablo Ceppellini, 83’); Jonathan Rodríguez (Orbelín Pineda, 78’), Santiago Giménez

Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Gerardo Arteaga, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, Josecarlos Van Rankin; Diego Valdés (Edgar Games, 53’), Fernando Gorriarán; Brian Lozano, Ulíses Rívas, Eryc Castillo (Eduardo Aguirre, 78’); Julio Furch (Octavio Rivero, 67’)

Scoring: Cruz Azul - Jonathan Rodríguez (1’), Eliás Hernández (51’), Luis Romo (79’); Santos Laguna - None

Disciplinary: Cruz Azul - Igor Lichnovsky (Yellow - 63’); Santos Laguna - Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 6’), Gerardo Arteaga (Yellow - 46’), Félix Torres (Yellow - 47’)