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Match recap: Toluca 3, Santos Laguna 1

A good first half by Santos is completely undone as Toluca gets their first win of the season.

Leonardo Fernandez #10 of Toluca celebrate with teammates after scoring the second goal of his team during the 2nd round match between Toluca and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 at Nemesio Diez Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Toluca, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Santos started out well enough, but a goal late in the first half proved to be their undoing as Toluca scored two more in the second half to win 3-1. Defensive mistakes (and a Diego Rigonato golazo) proved costly for Los Guerreros, who are still searching for their first win of the 2022 season.

While it looked like Toluca might take the game to Santos initially, the run of play quickly favored the visitors, with Santos getting the better of the possession and winning corner kicks early. In the 22nd minute Brian Lozano hit a free kick from the far right side to Ayrton Preciado on the left, and “Ayrtinho” knocked it in past García. The goal was reviewed by the VAR crew for a possible offside but it was judged to be a good goal.

In the 29th perhaps a bit of controversy as Omar Campos drove into the box and a Toluca defender made contact from behind when he shot, but play was allowed to continue. Toluca then had a good chance when Camilo Sanvezzo was played in on goal but his resulting shot went wide of the net. A brief VAR review showed the contact on Campos was minimal and no penalty was awarded. The fortunes changed in the 40th minute when a breakdown by the Santos defense saw Camilo Sanvezzo get an uncontested shot in the box. Carlos Acevedo did well to make a diving save, but the rebound went to an unmarked Daniel Álvarez, and there wasn’t much Acevedo could do to stop the equalizer from going in.

A clearly stunned Santos came close to conceding again minutes after, but the resulting shot from Sanvezzo went wide of the net and Santos was able to escape the half without conceding a second.

Toluca kept the momentum going into the second when almost immediately off of the restart they drove down the field and sent in a cross that just missed Alexis Canelo’s header attempt. Santos was able to wrest control of possession back however, and had a decent chance in the 53rd when they drove down and kept sustained pressure on the home side, but the result was a Félix Torres header that went just wide of the net. Then at the other end a good cross into the box just missed a sliding Álvarez. A minute later however another fast break by Toluca saw a cross in find Leo Fernández at speed, and there was nothing Acevedo could do to prevent the home side from taking the 2-1 lead.

Santos immediately went back to work, but Toluca was well-positioned on defense and didn’t allow much in the way of looks at goal. Brian Lozano had a long shot in the 64th, but it was well read by García and stopped easily. In the 68th Santos had a good look on a quick free kick, but Juan Ferney Otero’s shot went over the bar. Then Santos had a golden opportunity when Dória sprung a counterattack from the back. Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre headed the ball on for Brian Lozano, who then crossed it back to Aguirre, but his shot went straight into the stomach of the prone García. Minutes later a recently subbed on Diego Rigonato was the benefactor of a great pass into the box, and Rigonato smashed it one time on the volley to seal the game for Toluca.

Jordan Carrillo had a look at goal in the 87th with a curling shot, but it just skimmed the top of the bar. It was that kind of day for Santos, who have one point from their two games. Toluca heads to Mazatlán to face Los Cañoneros on Friday, January 21 while Santos returns to Torreón to host Necaxa on Sunday, January 23.

Toluca: Luis García; Jorge Rodríguez, Oscar Vanegas, Oscar Ortega, Carlos Guzmán; Claudio Baeza, Jordan Sierra; Alexis Canelo, Leo Fernández (Diego Rigonato, 78’), Daniel Álvarez (Braian Samudio, 66’); Camilo Sanvezzo (Alan Rodríguez 86’)

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Omar Campos, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Carlos Orrantia; Fernando Gorriarán, Alan Cervantes; Ayrton Preciado (Jordan Carrillo, 56’) Brian Lozano (Beto Ocejo, 81’), Juan Ferney Otero; Ignacio Jeraldino (Eduardo Aguirre, 56’)

Scoring: Toluca - Daniel Álvarez (40’), Leo Fernández (55’), Diego Rigonato (79’); Santos Laguna - Ayrton Preciado (23’)

Disciplinary: Toluca - Jorge Rodríguez (Yellow - 20’), Oscar Ortega (Yellow - 36’), Luis García (Yellow - 74’) Leo Fernández (Yellow - 78’), ; Santos Laguna - Matheus Dória (Yellow - 81’)