Santos Laguna was able to exorcise the demons of the last team to beat them at TSM Corona, avenging their March 17, 2019 loss to Necaxa with a 2-1 win almost a full year later. Santos got goals from Hugo Rodríguez and Brian Lozano while Necaxa’s lone goal was an own goal from Félix Torres.
Lozano was the standout player of the match from the start. Santos had a good chance in the fourth minute when “Huevo” hit a free kick that went in off a Félix Torres header, but it was ruled (correctly) to have been played offside. After a brief conversation between referee Jorge Rojas and the VAR booth, the call on the field was confirmed and play continued. Santos would convert on a Lozano free kick in the 11th minute however when Hugo González bobbled the save and Hugo Rodríguez was there to poke it in for his first goal of the season.
Disaster struck for the hosts just five minutes later however when Félix Torres deflected a José Cobián cross past goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco for an own goal equalizer.
Both teams really couldn’t get much going in the first half, with both sides committing fouls at seemingly every opportunity. Santos did have a good chance in the 42nd when Lozano was played in onside and hit a shot in the box that went just wide of the far post.
Santos started the second half on the right foot, looking to press forward. It almost paid dividends immediately when Lozano hit a cross that a sliding Emilio Orrantía couldn’t quite get on frame. Lozano had a free kick in the 56th that he hit with real power but González did well to stop the shot. Necaxa had a good opportunity in the 60th minute when they got a break and X hit a shot but Orozco came up huge to knock it away. In the 62nd on another break Mauro Quiroga would get on the end of a cross but his header just missed.
Santos would break through in the 68th when Diego Valdés made a fantastic run through traffic and hit a pass to Lozano. Lozano’s shot was true and González had little chance to stop it as it rocketed into the back of the net.
This opened the game up as Necaxa pushed forward to try and get an equalizer, which also left space in behind their midfield. Santos had a good chance just minutes after Lozano’s goal when Valdés hit a shot from distance that whistled just over the bar. Santos was able to play their smart counterattacking style, content to sit back and grind minutes off of the clock while throwing numbers forward when the opportunities arose.
Things would get worse for Necaxa in the 87th when Claudio Baeza was shown his second yellow card and was sent off. Los Rayos had one final opportunity to tie the match literally at the last second but a shot from distance smashed off of the crossbar and out of danger.
Santos was set to go on the road and face Monterrey while Necaxa was set to host Tigres, however with all Liga MX matches being suspended the fate of those games and the season is very much up in the air at the moment.
Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Gerardo Arteaga, Hugo Rodríguez, Félix Torres, Josecarlos Van Rankin; Brian Lozano, Ulíses Rívas, Fernando Gorriarán, Carlos Orrantía (Alan Cervantes, 81’); Julio Furch, Eduardo Aguirre (Diego Valdés, 58’)
Necaxa: Hugo González; Raúl Sandoval, Rodrigo Noya, José Doldán (Daniel Álvarez, 85’), Julio González; Yerko Leiva (Luis Madrigal, 83’), Ricardo Chávez (Jesús Ochoa, 90’), Claudio Baeza, Juan Delgado; Mauro Quiroga, José Cobián
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Hugo Rodríguez (11’), Brian Lozano (68’); Necaxa - Félix Torres (16’ - own goal)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Ulíses Rívas (Yellow - 26’); Necaxa - Ricardo Chávez (Yellow - 39’), Claudio Baeza (Yellow - 66’, Red - 87’)