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Match recap: Santos Laguna 3, Mazatlán FC 0

Santos clinches third place in the Liguilla with a 3-0 win over Mazatlán, ending Los Cañoneros’ chance at the repechaje.

Javier Correa of Santos celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during the 17th round match between Santos Laguna and Mazatlan FC as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on October 2, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Going into the playoffs, Santos wanted to set a good tone and end the regular season with a win at home. To do that, they had to beat Mazatlán, who were fighting for their playoff lives. Santos got a little luck and a two goal performance from Javier Correa to get a 3-0 win, knocking Mazatlán out of the postseason in the process.

The match got off to a tough start when MIguel Sansores and Hugo Rodríguez clashed jumping for a ball. Both players were down on the pitch for a minute but were able to continue, with Sansores receiving a yellow card for his role. Santos had a great chance in the seventh minute on a counterattack when Harold Preciado was played in on goal, and a good defensive play by Néstor Vidrio deflected the ball harmlessly out of bounds. Alan Cervantes had a rip from distance off of the resulting corner kick but it missed the mark, whistling wide past the far post.

Santos did a great job of inviting Mazatlán downfield and then exploiting them on the counterattack. Alan Cervantes and Fernando Gorriarán did well pulling the strings from the midfield, picking out balls forward for Harold Preciado to run onto. In the 17th minute Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre got a header on a corner kick, but it was right at Nicolás Vikonis, who made the save easily. A minute later, a long ball from the right wing found the foot of Gorriarán, but even though he timed his run perfectly he couldn’t re-direct the ball on frame.

The game didn’t have much in the way of scoring chances early on. In the 32nd minute, Mazatlán finally had a look when a deflected ball couldn’t be cleared out quick enough and Emilio Sánchez ripped a shot, but it missed the mark. Cecilio Domínguez had a look in the box in the 35th minute, but couldn’t direct it on frame. Mazatlán almost got one to go in the 40th when Edgar Bárcenas hit a powerful shot on frame, but Carlos Acevedo tipped it and it smashed off of the crossbar and was cleared out. Before the match crossed into the first half stoppage, Harold Preciado was pulled down in the box. Despite his protestations, no penalty was awarded and the teams went into the lockers in a scoreless tie.

Santos got off to a good start in the second half, with Leo Suárez playing Preciado in on goal, but the resulting shot hit off of the crossbar and out. Things changed in the 50th minute when a shot by David Colman hit Carlos Orrantia in the arm. It was right on the line and it looked like Orrantia’s arm was close to his body, but after a lengthy review referee Adonai Escobedo awarded Mazatlán a penalty. Gonzalo Sosa stepped up and took the shot, but smashed it flush off of the crossbar.

Santos got their legs back under them, and in the 64th minute Jair González got in deep and hit a shot that forced Vikonis to tip it out of bounds. In the 70th, Javier Correa drove into the box and was taken out with a sliding tackle from Efraín Orona. Escobedo immediately pointed to the spot, and Fernando Gorriarán took the kick and easily slotted it home to give Santos the lead.

Immediately at the other end Mazatlán had shouts for a handball in the box when a shot appeared to hit Hugo Rodríguez in the arm, but Escobedo indicated there was a foul in the box prior to the handball and play continued. Santos did well to keep the pressure on Mazatlán, and it paid of in the 84th minute when Javier Correa turned what had been boos upon his entrance into cheers. Correa received a ball on the right hand side and hit a shot past Vikonis to double the lead.

They weren’t done however, because on the restart Mazatlán turned the ball over to Correa, who ran in on goal, feinted and shot to put Santos up 3-0 and seal the win.

With the win, Santos leapfrogs Pachuca into third place in the Liguilla. Mazatlán meanwhile will miss the repechaje and start to focus on 2023.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia (Javier Correa, 65’), Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Omar Campos; Alan Cervantes (Aldo López, 65’), Fernando Gorriarán; Leo Suárez (Andrés Ávila, 81’), Cecilio Domínguez (Jair González, 56’), Eduardo Aguirre; Harold Preciado (Roni Prieto, 81’)

Mazatlán FC: Nicolás Vikonis; Bryan Colula Jorge Padilla, 76’), Efraín Orona (Nicolás Benedetti, 76’), Néstor Vidrio, Camilo Vargas; Roberto Meráz, David Colman (Brian Rubio, 76’); Emilio Sánchez (Marco Fabián, 69’), Miguel Sansores (Eduardo Bello, 60’), Edgar Bárcenas; Gonzalo Sosa

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Fernando Gorriarán (72’ - penalty), Javier Correa (83’, 85’); Mazatlán FC - None

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Carlos Orrantia (Yellow - 52’); Mazatlán FC - Miguel Sansores (Yellow - 1’), Edgar Bárcenas (Yellow - 33’), Bryan Colula (Yellow - 42’)