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Match recap: Gallos Blancos de Querétaro 1, Santos Laguna 0

An early goal leads to Querétaro parking the bus against Santos as Gallos pick up all three points on the evening.

Queretaro v Santos Laguna - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

An early goal by Querétaro sealed the deal, and then a subsequent masterclass in the dark arts of strategic fouling and ensuring fouls against were noticed by the officiating crew ensured all three points to the home side. Santos never got much going despite having possession thanks in large part to Querétaro’s defense, and now sit just one point over Atlas for the fourth and final spot in the Liguilla to avoid the repechaje.

Querétaro had the first decent chance of the match when Alexis Doldán got his foot onto a free kick but his redirection went over the bar. They then converted a chance in the fourth minute when Ángel Sepúlveda got his head on a cross and directed it centrally, right into the path of an onrushing Gonzalo Montes. Montes hit it with force and knocked it past Carlos Acevedo to give Querétaro the early lead.

Santos had an opportunity to counter almost immediately when Juan Ferney Otero ripped a shot from distance, and while the shot was able to make its way through traffic it wound up well wide of the net. Jonathan Dos Santos had a good chance in the eighth minute but his free kick was pushed wide by a diving Acevedo.

Santos was able to settle things down and start to retain some possession, however more often than not they gave the ball away on passes that were either a little over-ambitious or simply went to no one in particular. Querétaro on the other hand didn’t keep possession much and were happy to try and push Santos around physically, committing some hard fouls and making sure Santos players were not unscathed when they touched the ball.

Acevedo made another diving save in the 23rd on a shot from distance. Every time Santos seemed to be getting some possession and on the cusp of creating chances, Querétaro would adjust and go back to their physical, grinding style. Santos had a decent opportunity in the 44th when Ayrton Preciado laid off a ball for Jesús Ocejo, however his shot went just over the bar. Santos dominated possession in the first half but had nothing to show for it.

Santos had a good chance at the start of the second half when Juan Ferney Otero hit a low hard shot that Gil Alcalá pushed away from the far corner of the goal. Santos continued to have long stretches of possession but Querétaro was content to park the bus and force Santos to beat them despite a physical style of play.

In the 66th a shot was taken that Acevedo stopped. The rebound went straight ahead and Jesús Isijara went in on a challenge on Jonathan Dos Santos went down. Fernando Hernández whistled for a penalty, but went to VAR and saw that Isijara had won the ball cleanly and overturned the call.

Santos then started to click. Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre had a shot that deflected just over the bar. Then Andrés Ibargüen hit a shot through traffic that rolled just wide. Querétaro was still defensively sound and kept plenty of players behind the ball and of course kept the physicality of play high. Even with seven minutes of stoppage time, Santos wasn’t able to break through and Querétaro came away with all three points on the evening.

Querétaro heads to Aguascalientes to face Necaxa on Friday, April 16 while Santos returns home to host Toluca on Sunday, April 18.

Gallos Blancos de Querétaro: Gil Alcalá; Omar Mendoza, Daniel Cervantes, Alexis Doldán, Antonio Valencia; Gonzalo Montes, Fernando Madrigal; Arturo Palma (Kevin Escamilla, 55’), Kevin Ramírez, Ángel Sepúlveda (Hugo Silviera, 90’); Jonathan Dos Santos (Martín Rea, 82’)

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Omar Campos, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, Jesús Isijara; Ayrton Preciado (Andrés Ibargüen, 46’), Edgar Games (Adrián Lozano, 46’), Alan Cervantes, Juan Ferney Otero; Jesús Ocejo (Eduardo Aguirre, 69’), Santiago Muñoz (Carlos Orrantia, 84’)

Scoring: Gallos Blancos de Querétaro - Gonzalo Montes (4’); Santos Laguna - None

Disciplinary: Gallos Blancos de Querétaro - Alexis Doldán (Yellow - 88’); Santos Laguna - Omar Campos (Yellow - 40’), Matheus Dória (Yellow - 80’)