Nicolás Ibáñez’ goal in the 14th was the game winner, but this match will most likely be remembered for the sheer amount of bad behavior from players and coaches alike, with multiple scrums breaking out during the game and eight yellow cards and three red cards shown.
What the opening minutes of the match lacked in cohesiveness, it made up for in fouls committed. Neither side looked particularly convincing in the early part of the match, but San Luis took the lead in the 14th minute when Damián Batallini hit a fantastic cross into the box. Nicolás Ibáñez was able to get his head to it, beating a diving Carlos Acevedo.
⚽ ¡Gool de @AtletideSanLuis!— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) February 19, 2021
⚽ ¡Gool de @AtletideSanLuis!
⚽ ¡Gool de @AtletideSanLuis!
Nico Ibañez se levanta y la manda al fondo con un gran remate de cabeza
¡En vivo! https://t.co/546hNuPBaV #TusGuardianes2021 | #HagamosQueSuceda I #ModoGuerrero pic.twitter.com/97jiH5UM9i
Santos went right back to work, and was able to win some key battles for possession but had trouble finding the final pass to get through the Atleti defense. San Luis had done their homework and was able to anticipate most of Santos’ long passes, be it from Dória out to Omar Campos on the right wing or from Fernando Gorriarán up toward forwards Ignacio Jeraldino and Santiago Muñoz. They got a good chance in the 27th when Muñoz had a header that just missed wide.
In the 33rd minute a bunch of pushing and shoving broke out between the teams after a hard foul from Javier Noya on Muñoz, resulting in the players getting tangled up. Cooler heads prevailed as they usually do, although Noya, Muñoz, and Carlos Acevedo were all booked as a result of the scrum.
The game remained chippy, but Santos took the opportunity to start to mount some pressure. Fortunately for the home side, the halftime whistle blew before Santos was able to get any solid chances at net.
Santos picked up the second half where they left in the first, but soon enough the momentum swung back toward San Luis. The home side was able to garner long spells of possession and while not always particularly dangerous, they ran precious time off of the clock in almost clinical fashion. In the 51st minute, Juan Ferney Otero and Ricardo Chávez got tangled up in the box. Referee Adonai Escobedo went to VAR and reviewed the play for a possible red card against Otero, however wound up giving him a yellow instead.
Santos started ratcheting up the pressure again, with Ronaldo Prieto testing Axel Werner with a shot from distance in the 59th. Werner saw it the entire way and was in perfect position to make the easy save. Muñoz found Gorriarán in the box a minute later on a great ball, but his shot was blocked. Santos was finally able to use Otero’s speed along the wings to create chances, earning a corner kick in the 74th.
The game devolved into gamesmanship by San Luis, with Santos players often winding up with cards. A minute into stoppage time, Félix Torres was harrassed on the sidelines after a play and another large scrum broke out with Torres being shown a red card. Iván Pineda was also shown a red card, although it wasn’t immediately clear what either player was sent off for. (Note: It was later alleged that Torres was the victim of racist abuse.) With two less players there was a lot of open space on the pitch, and Santos kept attacking, even sending Carlos Acevedo up to assist but ultimately to no avail.
San Luis will host Tigres on Thursday, February 25 while Santos returns home to host Juárez on Sunday, February 28.
Club Atlético de San Luis: Axel Werner; Ricardo Chávez, Rodrigo Noya, Ramiro González, Camilo Mayada; Damián Batallini, Felipe Gallegos (Jesús Piñuelas, 82’), Javier Güemez, Juan Castro (Jorge Sánchez, 65’); Germán Berterame (Iván Pineda, 80’), Nicolás Ibáñez
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Ronaldo Prieto, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, Carlos Orranita (Andrés Ibargüen, 73’); Juan Ferney Otero, Fernando Gorriarán, Alan Cervantes, Omar Campos; Ignacio Jeraldino (Jesús Ocejo, 69’), Santiago Muñoz
Profe Guillermo Almada's Starting XI to face @AtletideSanLuis is here!— Club Santos EN (@ClubSantosEn) February 19, 2021
✅ An unchanged team from Sunday's win over Rayados
✅ of XI starters are 26 years old or younger
✅ 2⃣ 18-year-old youth team graduates: Santi Muñoz, Omar Campos#ModoGuerrero ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/EawVwm9Gvg
Scoring: Club Atlético de San Luis - Nicolás Ibáñez (14’); Santos Laguna - None
Disciplinary: Club Atlético de San Luis - Javier Noya (Yellow - 34’), Ramiro González (Yellow - 66’), Leonel Rocco (Red - 70’), Iván Pineda (Yellow - 88’, Red - 90+3’); Santos Laguna - Carlos Acevedo (Yellow - 34’), Santiago Muñoz (Yellow - 34’), Juan Ferney Otero (Yellow - 55’), Ronaldo Prieto (Yellow - 75’), Jesús Ocejo (Yellow - 86’), Félix Torres (Red - 90+1’)