With fans back in their fortress for the first time in over a year, Santos wanted to deliver something special. They did just that, getting three amazing goals from three different players and extending their regular-season home unbeaten streak into double digits as they beat Necaxa 3-1.
Neither team was able to get too much going offensively in the first stretch of the game. Santos had a couple of shots that were more hopeful than harmful, with the most dangerous being a long-distance shot in the 15th from Carlos Orrantia that goalkeeper Luis Malagón saw the entire way and made the save on. A minute later Unai Bilbao’s header sailed just wide of his own goal. There was a bit of controversy in the 25th minute when Santos players and manager Guillermo Almada were shouting for a handball in the box, but replays showed it was incidental and the play never went to VAR.
By around the half hour mark, Santos was well in control of the match, retaining possession for long stretches and starting to create chances and get looks at goal. In the 35th minute, Andrés Ibargüen got on the end of a wonderful cross but his volley missed the mark by mere inches. Santos would break through in the 37th when Santiago Muñoz made a fantastic run, cutting in from the left side of the box, dribbling past a couple of defenders, and knocking a hard right-footed shot through traffic to beat Malagón.
Muñoz almost doubled his tally in the 40th when he got onto a nice cross from Juan Ferney Otero, but his deflection from the outside of his foot wound up going just over the crossbar. Santos went into the locker the deserved leaders.
Santos would double the lead in the 53rd minute when they got a set piece deep. Matheus Dória faked a shot on goal and pulled it to his left, where Juan Ferney Otero hit a rocket into the top corner of the net.
Necaxa had a good chance in the 65th minute when they tried a little set piece trickery of their own, posting a Maxi Salas at the top corner of the box and hitting the corner in his path. Salas’ shot was hard and low and made it through traffic, only to hit off of the outside of the post and go out for a goal kick.
Santos was able to keep a lot of pressure on Necaxa, however Necaxa was able to pull one back in the 77th minute when Félix Torres feathered a pass back under pressure to Carlos Acevedo. Acevedo rushed out to the ball but was only to deflect the shot from the onrushing Kevin Mercado. The ball shot straight up into the air, and Daniel López crashed into Matheus Dória, heading the ball into the empty net.
Santos was undeterred however, and in the 85th Fernando Gorriarán made a great move through the area and got off a shot that missed the far post by inches. As the clock surpassed 90 minutes however Juan Ferney Otero made another run down the right side of the box, and then hit an absolutely perfect pass into space. Gorriarán timed his run perfectly, and smashed the ball into the back of the net for an insurance goal.
¡Llegó el tercero de @ClubSantos! Apareció @nandogorriaran y le dedicó el gol a @brian_lozano18 #FOXLigaMX @marianot19 @pulpozuniga @RodolfoLanderos @daniella_lg @SirJohnLaguna pic.twitter.com/ropfU4hfWd— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) March 8, 2021
Santos will head to La Frontera Norte to take on Tijuana on Saturday, March 13 while Necaxa continues on to Guanajuato to face León on Monday, March 15.
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; David Andrade, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, Carlos Orrantia (Omar Govea, 76’); Juan Ferney Otero, Alan Cervantes, Fernando Gorriarán, Andrés Ibargüen; Jesús Ocejo (Eduardo Aguirre, 75’), Santiago Muñoz (Ignacio Jeraldino, 76’)
Guillermo Almada's Starting XI!— Club Santos EN (@ClubSantosEn) March 8, 2021
✅ Andrés Ibargüen starts his first game as a
✅ 5⃣ changes from the last match vs. Pumas
✅ Carlos Acevedo wears the captain's armband#ModoGuerrero ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/rif4dNviUE
Necaxa: Luis Malagón; Idekel Domínguez, Unai Bilbao, Jorge Aguilar, Julio González; Alejandro Zendejas, David Cabrera (Yerko Leiva, 72’), Juan Delgado (Kevin Mercado, 46’); Maximiliano Salas, Ian González, Martín Barragán (Daniel López, 72’)
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Santiago Muñoz (37’), Juan Ferney Otero (53’), Fernando Gorriarán (90+1’); Necaxa - Daniel López (77’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - None; Necaxa - Jorge Aguilar (Yellow - 9’), Julio González (Yellow - 59’), Idekel Domínguez (Yellow - 70’), Maximiliano Salas (Yellow - 89’), Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 90+2’)