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Santos crush and all but eliminate a disappointing Pumas

Santos got a 3-0 victory against Pumas in a key match as they officially qualify to the repechaje.

Pumas UNAM v Santos Laguna - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Santos got a key 3-0 away win over Pumas in a match that guarantees their place in the repechaje and all but eliminates Pumas from it. It was a disastrous result at home for a Pumas side that had improved in the season, but went back to their poor ways and are now inches from the incredible failure of failing to qualify for the repechaje for a second straight season. Santos are now in their best moments of the season, just as the post season starts and will close out at home against Atletico San Luis. Pumas will close out against Cruz AZul in a match that they must win and also expect results if they hope for a miracle to qualify to the repechaje.

The first half of the game started with Pumas and Santos both coming out with their best lineups in this very important match. Santos had the first chance when Ayrton Preciado got off a shot from outside the area that went just inches wide. Pumas took a while to get their first opportunity, but it was a great one. A cross in the area found Juan Ignacio Dinenno, who headed the ball past Santos’ goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo but it hit the right post. Santos answered almost immediately with a long range shot from Diego Valdes that went just wide. Then after a good combination play, Jesus Isijara got a great cross to a wide open Diego Valdes, who headed it past Talavera for the 1-0 lead for Santos. Pumas tried to answer with a run into the area by Dinenno, whose shot went just wide. Santos answered with two close attacks that a fragile Pumas’ defense was able to barely clear. Santos then had another chance when a cross from a corner kick found a wide open Matheus Doria, but his volley went well wide. After Fernando Gorriarran didn’t give the ball for a throw in, Favio Alvarez pushed him and sent him flying, earning him a yellow card. Later Leonel Lopez got off a shot from outside the area that surprised Acevedo, who had to scramble to make a great save. After a strong foul from Juan Otero on Erik Lira, it looked like a possible scuffle could have occurred as the match started to turn chippy. Pumas had pushed Santos into their area in the final minutes, but Santos was doing well in defending and not giving up chances. In the last play of the half, a cross into the area was headed by a Pumas player but Acevedo made a great save to keep Santos in the lead at halftime.

The second half started with Pumas needing to get at least a tie to have a chance in making the repechaje. Pumas had a chance when a cross into the area found Dinenno, but his header went wide. Later Alvarez got a shot from outside the area that went wide. Against the run of play, a great cross by Preciado into the area once again found Diego Valdes, who got off a great header past Talavera for the 2-0. Pumas subbed out Cristian Battocchio and Washington Corozo for Sebastian Saucedo and Diogo de Oliveira. The changes almost paid off immediately when Diogo found Saucedo and he got a shot from outside the area that just went inches wide. Santos would sub out Ayrton Preciado for Ismael Govea in what was a very defensive move. Then off a corner kick, Pumas did a terrible job defending a counter attack and Omar Campos got into the area and got off a left footed shot past Talavera for the 3-0 lead. It looked to be the goal that killed the match for Santos, although Pumas kept at it. Then after a free kick, the ball got into the area and Campos was judged to have handled the ball, and the referee gave a penalty kick to Pumas. Juan Igancio Dinenno stepped up to take the penalty, but his right footed shot was saved by Acevedo in a great save and a terrible waste for Pumas. Santos subbed out Diego Valdes, Fernando Gorriarran, and Eduardo Aguirre for Brian Lozano, Ulises Rivas and Ignacio Jeraldino. Pumas almost gifted a fourth to Santos when Talavera whiffed on a clearance and then Arturo Ortiz gave a pass to Jeraldino, but his shot was saved by Talavera. Santos then subbed out a cramped Omar Campos for David Andrade. Andrade almost had a great chance on a three-on-three after a mistake by Pumas’ defense, but he gave the ball away in the final pass. Pumas kept trying to score but the penalty miss effectively ended them and they never came close to scoring after it.

In a match that was key, Pumas once again crumbled at home. After failing to qualify to the last repechaje by losing at home against Club America in the final night of last season, they look to have done the same in another night game at home in a worse way after losing to Santos. Pumas will now have to beat Cruz Azul on Sunday, but they also depend on other results to see if they will have a chance to win, although they are lucky that some teams face each other and will take points of each other but without a win, they are done. Santos will hope to close out in a even better place against Atletico San Luis, who is also hoping to make it to the repechaje but they have a tough hurdle to get past in the final regular game of the season.