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Match recap: Santos Laguna 2, Toluca 2

Some last minute heroics from Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre salvages a point for Santos against Toluca.

Alessio da Cruz of Santos celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 15th round match between Santos Laguna and Toluca as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico.
Alessio da Cruz of Santos celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of his team during the 15th round match between Santos Laguna and Toluca as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Torreon, Mexico.
Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Seconds away from their first win in Torreón since 2004, Toluca gave up a stoppage time goal as Santos pulled a draw from the jaws of defeat. Santos squandered a great first half, but thanks to Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre’s last minute golazo were able to get a point when it seemed none were possible.

Santos started out with the confidence of a team that has been all but invincible at home. They kept possession well in the early minutes, and in the fourth Ayrton Preciado played a great ball in for Aguirre, but goalkeeper Gustavo Gutiérrez read the play well and smothered the shot from Aguirre. At the other end in the seventh minute Ian González had an attempt off of a header, but it went well high of its intended target. In the eighth minute, Braian “Samu” Samudio went to bring a ball down and landed awkwardly on his plant leg, stopping play for a moment while he was checked out on the sideline. Thankfully he was able to continue, returning a few minutes later.

In the 14th Santos had a great chance when Alessio Da Cruz lost his mark and hit a nice pass back to Preciado at the top of the box. Preciado chested it to Fernando Gorriarán, who knocked it back to Preciado, who volleyed it off of the post. Mudo Aguirre had the follow up shot but it went well wide of the mark. In the 18th Santos broke through again, this time with Da Cruz snaking his way into the box but the resulting shot was blocked out for a corner. There was a long delay as Samu was down on the pitch for a while again, eventually having to be subbed off for Diego Chávez.

Toluca had a good chance in the 31st when Vanegas hit a shot at Lajud, Lajud stopped it, and immediately threw it forward to Gorriarán. “Gorri” took it and ran, knocking it forward for Da Cruz. Gutiérrez was too far off of the line, and Da Cruz easily dribbled it around him and knocked it into the empty net.

Not a minute later, Santos was back in that end of the field and Mudo Aguirre ripped a shot a close range that Gutiérrez had to make a save on. Toluca looked utterly lost at times on the pitch, hanging on for dear life while Santos pressed forward, both probing for an opportunity for a second goal and taking their time to run as much time off of the clock as possible.

IN the second half, Santos looked to have a break but Mudo Agurre’s pass was poor and easily picked off, starting a counter by Toluca that resulted in Diego Chávez going in one-on-one with Lajud, but the shot was parried away by the goalkeeper. Lajud wouldn’t be so fortunate the next time, when Chávez got a ball in deep, turned, and fired a hard shot into the back of the net to draw the sides level.

A minute later it was Kevin Castañeda ripping a shot past Lajud, this time however it went just on the outside of the far post. Santos looked a bit lost and back on their heels, and Toluca started to take the game to their hosts much the same way Santos had done to them in the first half. To make things worse for Santos, Da Cruz had to come off in the 64th minute, hobbling to the bench while Alberto “Beto” Ocejo took his place.

But Santos didn’t wilt under the pressure. In the 69th minute Jesús Isijara played a great ball forward that Juan Ferney Otero headed on frame but clattered off of the post. Then in the 72nd Mudo Aguirre had a header off of a free kick by Omar Campos that went just wide of the mark. But it all came apart in the 75th when a poor pass was again intercepted and played forward, this time to Alexis Canelo. Lajud was too far off of his line and Canelo chipped him perfectly to give Toluca the lead.

Santos tried to mount a comeback, but just couldn’t seem to put it together. In the 88th minute Gorriarán hit a nice cross to Beto Ocejo, but his resulting shot was stopped easily by Gutiérrez. In the final moments of stoppage however, Omar Campos threaded a great ball into the box to a waiting Mudo Aguirre, who smashed the ball into the back of the net to salvage a draw at the last possible second for Santos.

Santos heads to Querétaro to face off against Gallos Blancos on Saturday, October 30th while Toluca returns home to host León on Sunday, October 31st.

Santos Laguna: Gibran Lajud; Omar Campos, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Alan Cervantes; Ayrton Preciado (Andrés Ibargüen, 58’), Fernando Gorriarán, Jesús Isijara (José Ávila, 79’); Alessio Da Cruz (Alberto Ocejo, 64’), Eduardo Aguirre, Juan Ferney Otero

Toluca: Gustavo Gutiérrez; Diego Rigonato (Kevin Castañeda, 46’), Jorge Torres Nilo (Jorge Rodríguez, 46’), Brandon Sartiaguin, Oscar Vanegas, Raúl López; José Juan Vázquez, Claudio Baeza (Antonio Ríos, 84’); Alexis Canelo, Ian González (Michael Estrada, 85’), Braian Samudio (Diego Chávez, 20’)

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Alessio Da Cruz (31’), Eduardo Aguirre (90+4’); Toluca - Diego Chávez (55’), Alexis Canelo (75’)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Alessio Da Cruz (Yellow - 43’), Ayrton Preciado (Yellow - 48’); Toluca - Gustavo Gutiérrez (Yellow - 25’) Diego Rigonato (Yellow - 34’), Oscar Venegas (Yellow - 46’)