Santos came to the Borderland looking to build on the momentum they built on Tuesday when they picked up their first win of the year against CF Montréal in Concacaf Champions League play. They instead ran headlong into a Juárez team that held their ground defensively and was able to keep their guests in check for most of the evening.
Santos immediately took the kickoff and went down the field looking to score, but Fernando Gorriarán’s shot 13 second in went wide of the mark. Santos committed to pressuring and keeping the ball in the Juárez end of the pitch, and Harold Preciado had the game’s first shot on goal in the third minute, but it was an easy one right at Hugo González. Juárez eventually started getting more possession deeper into the Santos end, but really couldn’t do much with it. Santos hit Juárez on a nice break in the 15th minute that culminated with Harold Preciado getting past his man in the box and getting off a shot that González tipped wide and out for a corner kick.
In the 25th minute Flavio Santos was played down the right flank and looked like he was about to have a clear bead on goal, but Edgar Games was able to get back and stymie the run, allowing defensive help to arrive. As the match pulled closer to the half, both teams dug into the patterns that they’d exhibited throughout the season. Juárez was stout on defense but not threatening on offense while Santos kept possession but couldn’t make it count for much.
Both teams came into the second half with the best of intentions of ending the scoreless deadlock, however both were unsuccessful in their attempts of actually accomplishing that end. Teams usually got as far as to the final third before a poor pass, a defensive play, or some other means of dispossession occurred to thwart even the most promising of chances. A scary moment in the 63rd when Anderson Leite went for a shot and landed awkwardly on his foot. After a couple of minutes of medical attention on the field, he was loaded onto the golf cart and taken off of the field.
Félix Torres had a decent chance in the 72nd minute, hitting a bouncing ball in the box on the volley but pushing it just wide of the far post. Maximiliano Silvera had a good look at goal in the 80th minute, but his shot went into the side netting. Gorriarán had a nice through ball in the 84th that only found the chest of the diving Hugo González. Santos kept pressuring for a goal to end their winless drought, but simply couldn’t find one before the final whistle blew much to the frustration of the Santos players.
Juárez hosts Tigres on Friday, February 25th while Santos heads to Montréal to face CF Montréal in the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 matchup before heading to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul on Sunday, February 27th.
FC Juárez: Hugo González; Maximiliano Olivera, Alejandro Arribas, Ventura Alvarado, Joaquín Esquivel; Cándido Ramírez (Francisco Contreras, 67’), Fernando Arce, Jr., Anderson Leite (Martín Glaván, 65’), Flavio Santos; Maximiliano Silvera, Gabriel Fernández
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Omar Campos, Matheus Dória, Félix Torres, Ismael Govea (Franco Pizzichillo, 83’); Brian Lozano (Leo Suárez, 67’), Fernando Gorriarán, Edgar Games, Alan Cervantes (Jordan Carrillo, 80’); Harold Preciado, Eduardo Aguirre (Alberto Ocejo, 80’)
Scoring: FC Juárez - None; Santos Laguna - None
Disciplinary: FC Juárez - Ventura Alvarado (Yellow - 31’), Joaquín Esquivel (Yellow - 70’), Flavio Santos (Yellow - 90’); Santos Laguna - Alan Cervantes (Yellow - 42’), Félix Torres (Yellow - 45+2’), Brian Lozano (Yellow - 49’), Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 90+2’)