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Match recap: Santos Laguna 3, Toluca 1

Santos triumphs in a chaotic 3-1 win over Toluca,

Santos Laguna v Toluca - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos Laguna picks up a solid (albeit chaotic) win against Toluca, downing Los Diablos Rojos 3-1 at TSM. Usually raining toys for the annual Guerretón charity event, the match was raining goals and cards, with four goals scored and six cards shown during the match.

Toluca tested Santos early when Michael Estrada hit a shot from distance in the second minute, but Carlos Acevedo saw it the entire way and smothered the ball easily. A minute later at the other end it was Santos who scored first. Off of the short corner, a cross went to the far side of the box. Alan Cervantes hit a perfectly weighted header back to the other post and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre was all alone and easily tapped the ball into the back of the net.

Toluca almost equalized in the ninth minute when Rubens Sambueza hit a free kick that Alexis Canelo headed. His floating header floated just wide of the net however, much to the relief of the fans in attendance and watching at home. A miscommunication in the back in the 11th minute allowed Paolo Yrizar in on goal, but Acevedo was able to come up with the ball despite colliding with Yrizar. Both players came out of the encounter ok, tapping one another in a sign of respect after a hard play.

In the 17th a great ball forward from the back went to Santiago Muñoz, who had drifted wide. Muñoz hit it centrally to Mudo Aguirre, who fired a rocket off of the fingertips of Luis García and into the top corner of the net to double the lead.

Back at the other end, Yrizar tested Acevedo with a shot that the goalkeeper made a great diving stop on to keep it out. Yrizar was played through in the 26th but rushed his shot at a wide open net and sent it over the crossbar. Rodrigo Salinas had a look off of a redirection of a free kick, but skied his shot. Ayrton Preciado had a similar situation at the other end, sending his shot off of a redirected corner kick well into the seats.

Toluca was very direct in their attacks, and Santos didn’t help the matters much by conceding free kicks in dangerous positions. Santos did however create several counterattacking opportunities that forced Toluca to remain honest defensively, especially being down two goals in the first half. It was a chaotic first half, punctuated by Toluca’s Miguel Barbieri picking up a yellow card for a hard foul after the whistle blew to signify the end of the period.

The second half started out with the same chaotic energy the first half had brought. Santos had a good chance in the 47th when Omar Campos hit a ball in that missed the outstretched foot of Ayrton Preciado as well as the far post. Santos kept pressuring and it paid of in the 52nd minute when Ayrton Preciado hit a shot from distance that hit Santiago Muñoz flush and ricocheted to a wide open Juan Ferney Otero. Otero wasted no time and hit the ball in stride into the far corner to extend Santos’ lead to 3-0.

Two minutes later Santos hit Toluca on the counterattack again and this time Otero passed it off to Jesús Isijara, however his shot was stopped by García. Mudo Aguirre had a real shot at a hat trick in the 65th minute when he was played through the defense into a one-on-one with García but he didn’t have much space and García was able to make the stop. Toluca then drew one back in the following minute when Alexis Canelo got free along the back line, dipped his shoulder and then shot one low and hard past the outstretched arm of Carlos Acevedo.

Santos kept pressing forward, trying to pad their lead and not allow Toluca back into the match. Ronaldo Prieto had a nice give-and-go with Mudo Aguirre, but the resulting shot by Prieto went well high of it’s intended mark. In the 83rd Diego Rigonato went in hard on Juan Ferney Otero, who looked like he might have been in on goal. A yellow card was initially issued to Rigonato, but referee Luis Enrique Santander went to VAR to check on the play. After deliberating for a couple of minutes, Rigonato’s yellow was changed to a straight red card and Toluca’s fate was sealed.

Santos will be on the road at Pachuca next Monday, April 26 while Toluca heads home to host América on Sunday, April 25.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Jesús Isijara (Ismael Govea, 70’), Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Juan Ferney Otero; Omar Campos, Alan Cervantes, Ronaldo Prieto; Ayrton Preciado (Andrés Ibargüen, 70’), Santiago Muñoz (Ignacio Jeraldino, 57’), Eduardo Aguirre

Toluca: Luis García; Diego Rigonato, Jorge Torres Nilo, Miguel Barbieri (Oscar Ortega, 89’), Rodrigo Salinas (Raúl López, 61’); Rubens Sambueza, José Vázquez (Jorge Rodríguez, 89’), Claudio Baeza, Paolo Yrizar (Isaías Violante, 74’); Miguel Estrada (Enrique Triverio, 60’), Alexis Canelo

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Eduardo Aguirre (3’, 16’), Juan Ferney Otero (52’); Toluca - Alexis Canelo (66’)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Ayrton Preciado (Yellow - 29’); Toluca - Paolo Yrizar (Yellow - 45’), Miguel Barbieri (Yellow - 45+1’), Enrique Triverio (Yellow - 79’) Diego Rigonato (Red - 86’), Claudio Baeza (Yellow - 90+2’)