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Liguilla Quarterfinal match recap: Santos Laguna 1, Toluca 2

A quick double-fire from Toluca to start the second half sees Los Diablos Rojos go on to the semifinals 6-4 on aggregate.

Andres Mosquera of Toluca celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during the quarterfinals second leg match between Santos Laguna and Toluca as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos brought the house against Toluca, but Toluca was able to weather the storm and convert on two opportunities to get their first win in Torreón since the 2017 Clausura quarterfinals and advance into the semifinals. The match was marred by a return of the infamous grito after a red card late in the match.

Santos started out looking to score immediately, and got a good chance in the 30th second when a poor clearance was intercepted by Harold Preciado, who took a step and hit a hard shot that went just wide of the net. Toluca looked ready to defend, hanging back and trying not to let Santos get into the game, but in the seventh minute Santos won a corner kick that Félix Torres headed off of the post. Hugo Rodríguez crashed the net but couldn’t get it to go, and the ball eventually fell to Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre, but his shot went wide. Preciado had another look at goal in the tenth minute, but Volpi made a nice diving stop on the attempt. Omar Campos threaded a ball through the box in the 13th minute but neither Leo Suárez nor Mudo Aguirre could get to it as it rolled harmlessly across and then out of bounds.

Much of the first 20 minutes was played in the Toluca end, with Santos not letting the ball pass the halfway line but for a handful of times. Torres had another header in the 18th minute as the result of a corner kick, but this was deflected out. Toluca had their first sniff of a chance in the 20th minute when Carlos “Charly” Rodríguez took a shot from distance but Carlos Acevedo easily stopped the slow roller. Preciado had another look at goal in the 21st but his shot went well high of the bar. In the 23rd Preciado went in on goal and went down after drawing contact from Tiago Volpi, however the contact wasn’t enough for referee Luis Enrique Santander to award a penalty. Brayan Angulo suffered an injury in the 25th minute and took a cart ride to the sideline, and he was replaced by Jorge Rodríguez a minute later.

In the 28th Santos had a prime opportunity when Mudo Aguirre went in on goal. Preciado dummied on the chance, Fernando Gorriarán slid and missed it, and finally Domínguez made contact with the ball but he sent it well high and into the stands. Campos had a look at goal in the 33rd minute with a curling shot that just missed going in far post. Domínguez had another look in the 35th minute, but Volpi was well positioned and made the save. Preciado had another look at goal in the 44th minute, but his header went over the bar once again. Despite all of the pressure, Toluca bent but didn’t quite break, and the sides went into the lockers with the match tied at zero.

Disaster struck at the start of the second half when Toluca hit Santos on the counter, slotting the ball to Jean Meneses on the left. Meneses ran down and hit a shot that went between Carlos Acevedo’s legs to give the visitors a two goal lead on aggregate.

Then minutes later Toluca struck again when Andrés Mosquera headed in a corner kick to double Toluca’s lead on the night and give the visitors what seemed like an insurmountable lead.

The crowd was stunned, and Santos looked out of sorts. As dominant as they were in the first half they looked completely out of ideas for a spell but eventually got back into the game mentally. Ayrton Preciado came into the match for the first time since January 23, 2022 in the 59th minute to try and give Santos some offensive spark. Harold Preciado had another header as the result of a corner kick in the 66th minute, but it too went high. Javier Correa looked to have been sprung a moment later, but Tiago Volpi came off of his line and made a brilliant play to stop the ball.

Thiago Volpi made another brilliant stop in the 75th minute on a shot from distance from Leo Suárez, diving to get a hand onto the curling shot. Toluca got back into possession and did well to move the ball around, keeping one step ahead of Santos and running precious time off of the clock. Charly Rodríguez got on the end of a nice counterattack in the 78th minute and teed one up, but Acevedo made the save and kept his team in the match. Harold Preciado got a header in the 79th minute that Thiago Volpi bobbled but stopped. Volpi then looked to have been run into by Correa. This started a fracas, and after a brief VAR review Santander showed Correa the red card. This unfortunately saw the return of el grito on Volpi’s goal kick. Félix Torres got a header in the 85th minute, but it too went well high and wide. On the re-start, the crowd did the chant for a third time, forcing Santander to stop the match and call the players into the center circle. After the re-start, the fans repeated the chant several more times at various points, but the match wasn’t stopped again. Santos was able to draw one back late in stoppage time when Fernando Gorriarán poked home a cross into the area, but it was far too little, far too late and Santos’ quest for a seventh star would have to wait for another time.

Toluca will face off against América in the semifinal round.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia (Jair González, 59’), Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Omar Campos; Leo Suárez, Alan Cervantes (Ayrton Preciado, 59’), Fernando Gorriarán, Cecilio Domínguez (Javier Correa, 45’); Eduardo Aguirre, Harold Preciado

Toluca: Tiago Volpi; Andrés Mosquera, Valber Huerta, Haret Ortega, Brayan Angulo (Jorge Rodríguez, 26’); Fernando Navarro (Carlos Guzmán, 68’), Claudio Baeza, Marcel Ruiz (Alan Rodríguez, 73’); Camilo Sanvezzo (Jordan Sierra, 67’), Carlos González, Jean Meneses (Leo Fernández, 73’)

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Fernando Gorriarán (90+5’); Toluca - Jean Meneses (46’), Andrés Mosquera (49’)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Javier Correa (Red - 80’), Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 90’); Toluca - Jorge Rodríguez (Yellow - 55’)