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Match recap: Santos Laguna 2, FC Juárez 0

Santos gets a solid 2-0 win after Juárez goes down a player early in the second half.

Santos Laguna v FC Juarez - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos Laguna capitalized on Maxi Olivera’s sending off in the second half, getting goals from Félix Torres and Alessio Da Cruz to down FC Juárez at Estadio Corona TSM. The match marked the first Liga MX starts for both Brian Lozano and Gibran Lajud since March 2020. Lozano has been rehabbing from injury and Lajud has been backing up Carlos Acevedo, who missed the match with an injured shoulder picked up in last week’s match against León.

Santos started out on the front foot, with the best chance coming in the 14th minute off of a corner kick. Lozano played a short corner to Diego Valdés, and Valdés whipped one in that Matheus Dória got a head on, just missing the net. Juárez’ first good chance came in the 18th when Jefferson Intriago hit a shot from distance that took a deflection that caught Lajud off balance, however it was far enough out he was able to recover and make the save.

In the 35th minute it looked like a corner kick hit off of the arm of José Esquivel, however despite stopping the match for around a minute, referee Oscar Macías Romo declined to review the play himself and allowed play to continue without awarding Santos a penalty. Diego Valdés came close in the 43rd on a free kick from about 30 yards out, but his shot went just over the bar. The teams went into the locker rooms at halftime even and scoreless, although Santos had been the much better side for most of the opening frame.

There was controversy early in the second half when Maxi Olivera went in hard on Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre. Macías initially awarded a yellow card, but after a VAR review changed it to red and Juárez would spend the next 40 minutes down a player. Brian Lozano’s free kick was tipped over the bar by Hugo González, however on the resulting corner Félix Torres’ header snuck inside the near post to give Santos the lead. Aguirre was subbed out after the goal.

Up a goal and a player, Santos was much more aggressive in the attack. Santos was able to get good sequences of passes and good looks at the goal. In the 67th, Juan Ferney Otero hit a killer ball in to Alberto Ocejo, but his touch went just wide of the net. In the 72nd a blast from Juan Ferney Otero from distance hit the crossbar, and then the resulting sequence saw Ocejo hit a shot that Hugo González made a nice diving save on.

Santos kept the pressure on and it paid off. Santos got an insurance goal in stoppage time when Ocejo made a great run and while he had the ball knocked off of his foot, Alessio Da Cruz was there to clean up the rebound and knock it in for a goal on his Liga MX debut.

Both teams are off next week due to the international break. Santos returns on Friday, September 10 for an away match against Tijuana while Juárez returns home to host Cruz Azul also on Friday, September 10.

Santos Laguna: Gibran Lajud; Omar Campos, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, Carlos Orrantia; Fernando Gorriarán, Roni Prieto; Brian Lozano (Jordan Carrillo, 82’), Diego Valdés (Alessio Da Cruz, 73’), Juan Ferney Otero; Eduardo Aguirre (Alberto Ocejo, 56’)

FC Juárez: Hugo González; Alberto Acosta (Luis Pavez, 84’), Maxi Olivera, Gustavo Velázquez, Paul Aguilar; Jefferson Intriago, Jose Manríquez, Joaquín Esquivel (Flavio Santos, 65’); Matías García (Carlos Rosel, 84’), Diego Rolan, Fabián Castillo

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Félix Torres (55’), Alessio Da Cruz (90’); FC Juárez - None

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Félix Torres (Yellow - 20’); FC Juárez - Jefferson Intriago (Yellow - 41’), Maxi Olivera (Red - 48’)