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Match recap: Puebla F.C. 2, Santos Laguna 2

A thrilling match as Santos gets a huge away point against Los Larcaboys in Puebla.

Martin Barragan of Puebla celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the 11th round match between Puebla and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX at Cuauhtemoc Stadium on March 18, 2022 in Puebla, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Santos came from down two goals against one of the best teams in the league to secure a crucial road point, drawing Los Larcaboys of Puebla 2-2 at the Estadio Cuauhtémoc. Both teams can take away a lot of positives from the match, however both will look back on things that they need to improve upon.

Both teams started out looking to impose their will physically, drawing lots of contact both legally and otherwise. Santos tried moving the ball quickly, with darting north-south runs while Puebla preferred passing quickly to try and open up space in Santos’ smothering defense. There was a bit of controversy in the seventh minute when a cross into the box appeared to have hit Emanuel Gularte in the arm, but no VAR review was undertaken. A minute later Santos had the first good chance of the game when Ulíses Rívas unleashed a shot from just outside of the box but it went just over the bar. Then at the other end a defensive breakdown allowed for Federico Mancuello to get an uncontested shot at dull speed, but he pushed it just wide of the open goal. Pablo Parra also had a good look at goal in the 14th, but his volley also missed the mark.

In possession, Puebla kept the play wide, looking to draw Santos out and create space. To their credit, Santos did well to drop players deep to fill in those spaces before plays could develop. Santos meanwhile looked to exploit the counterattack. They almost did just that in the 23rd, when a good run by Fernando Gorriarán lead to Leo Suárez passing to Jordan Carrillo on the left, but Carrillo’s resulting wide open shot went well high and wide of its intended target. The tenor of the match changed in the 25th minute when Javier Salas battled with Gorriarán for a ball. Salas hit Gorriarán in the face and was shown a straight red card. Referee Fernando Guerrero went to VAR and reviewed it, and changed the red to a yellow, which was a more just ruling. In the 33rd Harold Preciado had a good look on goal, but Antony Silva made a good stop on the shot. Five minutes later Preciado went into the box after a ball and went knee-to-knee with the Puebla defender. Referee Guerrero determined it incidental contact, and play continued after Preciado received medical attention. He was able to re-take the field after a quick review by the medical staff.

Puebla almost scored in the 45th when they had several good chances, but a solid stop by Carlos Acevedo on a shot from Fernando Aristeguieta and a Hugo Rodríguez deflection of a shot from Parra preserved the 0-0 score. Santos threatened late in the half, but were ultimately unable to capitalize before the whistle blew and the teams went into the locker rooms.

A flurry of chances started the second half for Puebla, with the hosts getting multiple shots inside of the box in the 47th minute, but the chances were poor and weren’t very threatening. Santos got a good run from Gorriarán in the 51st, cutting through the Puebla defense but ultimately running into Antony Silva, who made a superb sliding stop on Gorriarán. In the 53rd, Gorriarán played a wonderful ball forward to Preciado, but his shot was rushed and sailed into the stands. Puebla was able to break through in the 57th when a Fernando Aristeguieta header went into the mixer. It hit off of several players before falling to the feet of Israel Reyes, who shot it into an almost empty net.

Santos pressed on however, looking for an equalizer. They drove down several times and won some set pieces, but could not break through. Puebla however broke through again in the 73rd when Maximiliano Araújo flicked a ball up into the air in the box. Acevedo went to punch it out, but Martín Barragán got his head on if first and knocked it in to double the lead.

Santos drew one back minutes later however when Leo Suárez played Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre in past the defense. Aguirre went in on Antony Silva and shot one between his legs to get one back.

Then a minute after that it was Suárez who got his head onto a throw in from Roni Prieto, knocking it past Antony Silva to draw the sides level once more.

Santos almost got a third when Harold Preciado was played in on goal in the 81st minute but Antony Silva made a fantastic sliding save to block the shot. Puebla had a good opportunity to re-take the lead as the clock passed 90 minutes, but a free kick from just outside of the box missed its mark. In stoppage time Lucas Maia had a header in the box that went just wide, and Santos was able to hang on to get a draw.

The international break next week means the teams won’t return to play until April. Puebla will head to Edomex to play Toluca on Sunday, April 3 while Santos returns home to host former manager Guillermo Almada and Pachuca also on Sunday, April 3.

Puebla F.C.: Antony Silva; Maximiliano Araújo, Emanuel Gularte, Israel Reyes, Juan Segovia, Gustavo Ferrareis; Jordi Cortizo (Alberto Herrera, 70’), Federico Mancuello (Martín Barragán, 70’), Javier Salas (George Corral, 69’), Pablo Parra (Lucas Maia, 61’); Fernando Aristeguieta (Guillermo Martínez, 86’)

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Omar Campos (David Andrade, 76’), Hugo Rodríguez, Félix Torres, Carlos Orrantia (Eduardo Aguirre, 67’); Ulíses Rívas (Roni Prieto, 67’), Alan Cervantes (Diego Medina, 76’), Fernando Gorriarán; Jordan Carrillo (Brian Lozano, 45’), Harold Preciado, Leo Suárez

Scoring: Puebla F.C. - Israel Reyes (56’), Martín Barragán (73’); Santos Laguna - Eduardo Aguirre (78’), Leo Suárez (79’)

Disciplinary: Puebla F.C. - Javier Salas (Yellow - 26’), Pablo Parra (Yellow - 35’); Santos Laguna - Harold Preciado (Yellow - 49’), Roni Prieto (Yellow - 89’)