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Match recap: Santos Laguna 4, Monterrey 3

Santos opens their 2022 Apertura with a wild 4-3 win over regional rivals Rayados.

Santos Laguna v Monterrey - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Brian Lozano of Santos celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the 1st round match between Santos Laguna and Monterrey as part of Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Corona Stadium on July 3, 2022 in Torreon, Mexico.

Liga MX is sometimes claimed to be the most entertaining league in the world, and the match between Santos Laguna and Rayados de Monterrey could be Exhibit A in defense of this assertation. Monterrey took a two goal lead, Santos battled back and took the lead just before thirteen minutes of stoppage, surviving a penalty shout in the process to start the season off with a 4-3 win at Estadio Corona.

Santos wasted no time in trying to get some pressure on Monterrey. In the second minute Jordan Carrillo was able to slip some defenders along the right side of the pitch and hit a cross into the box. It was close enough to goal that goalkeeper Luis Cárdenas came off of his line and went up to grab it, barely hanging on with his fingertips and keeping it away from the leaping Harold Preciado. Santos looked good in possession, keeping the ball well and moving it with purpose. Monterrey was mostly on the defensive side of things, and their attempts at possession often went nowhere. In the 11th minute there was a hard collision between Sebastián Vegas and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre where Vegas wound up with blood pouring out of his mouth. In the 14th minute a cross was whipped into the box by Erick Aguirre and Rodrigo Aguirre hit a good header that Acevedo made a fantastic save on. Two minutes later a corner kick lead to some defensive confusion in the box, and Rogelio Funes Mori was there to clean up the rebound and hit it into the top of the net.

Santos had a good chance in the 19th when Félix Torres headed a ball into the box and Matheus Dória tried for the redirection with a header of his own, but it went just wide of the net. Monterrey made them pay for the miss when they immediately ran down the field and Arturo González sent a pass over the top for Aguirre, who slipped the defense and chipped one up and over Acevedo to double the lead for the visitors.

Santos was able to create a bit of their own luck in the 23rd minute when Fernando Gorriarán sent a cross into the box and Harold Preciado drew contact from Vegas and smartly went down, getting the penalty call. Gorriarán shot hard to his left, catching Cárdenas guessing the wrong direction to draw one back for the home side.

Santos kept fighting for the equalizer, and in the 31st sent a cross in for Harold Preciado that was deflected out of bounds by César Montes. Montes stayed down and while he was getting checked out, Monterrey teammates Maximiliano Meza and Celso Ortíz began shouting in each others faces. On the ensuing corner kick, Torres atoned for his earlier gaffe with a beautiful header to draw the sides level.

The game remained physical and testy, with both sides suffering and committing hard fouls. As the sides went into the six minutes of stoppage at the half, Fernando Gorriarán had a chance to double his tally on the evening when he was played in, but he was too far wide and wasn’t able to get a shot on frame. Three minutes into stoppage Leo Suárez sent a great cross from the left of the box to the right, but Omar Campos couldn’t connect with the sliding kick and the ball rolled harmlessly out of bounds. After a wild first half, the teams went into the locker rooms tied at two.

Santos had a scare in the 47th minute when Funes Mori played Aguirre in past the back line. Aguirre sent his shot well into the stands however, and AR Mauricio Nieto raised the offside flag for good measure. While the game was still physical, referee Jorge Antonio Pérez was calling them more in the second half. In the 55th, he awarded Santos a free kick that Brian “Huevo” Lozano sent just over the crossbar. In the 60th, it was Monterrey at the other end sending a free kick over and into the stands. In the 63rd a ball was played into the box. Funes Mori went up for it and came down in a heap. Replays showed there was a push in the back from Carlos Orrantia, and a penalty was awarded. Funes Mori converted the shot from the spot to regain the lead for Rayados.

Santos wnet back to trying to get the equalizer, and in the 74th minute won a free kick that Leo Suárez sent into the wall. Three minutes later Harold Preciado headed a Brian Lozano corner kick into the ground and toward goal, but the angle of the bounce sent it up and over the crossbar. Santos kept pressuring Monterrey, but just couldn’t break through until the 84th minute when Brian Lozano sent a cross into the box that Preciado went up and headed in past the outstretched fingertips of Cárdenas for the equalizer.

Santos seized on the momentum and put a flurry of chances in the box, culminating with Preciado being dropped in the box by Jesús Gallardo, and Pérez immediately indicated a penalty. Brian Lozano converted it as cool as could be and gave Santos the lead in stoppage time.

There was a scary moment in stoppage when Félix Torres was struck in the face by a shot and went down on the pitch. Torres was able to walk off under his own power, and amazingly was allowed to continue. Monterrey had a great chance in the ninth minute of stoppage when a cross in the box by Monterrey found Rodolfo Pizarro, who attempted a chileno. Pérez went to VAR to watch a potential foul by Félix Torres in the box, but despite a jersey tug no penalty was awarded. Despite the wild ending, Santos was able to hang on and pick up all three points on the evening. Santos is on the road against Puebla on Friday, July 8 while Monterrey returns home to host Club América on Saturday, July 9.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia (Franco Pizzichillo, 75’), Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Omar Campos; Jordan Carrillo (Brian Lozano, 45’), Roni Prieto (Alan Cervantes, 45’), Fernando Gorriarán, Leo Suárez (Jair González, 75’); Eduardo Aguirre (Marcelo Correa, 61’), Harold Preciado

Monterrey: Luis Cardenás; Stefan Medina, César Montes (Edson Gutiérrez, 68’), Sebastián Vegas, Erick Aguirre (Joao Rojas, 85’); Arturo González (Jesús Gallardo, 68’), Luis Romo, Celso Ortíz; Maximiliano Meza (Rodolfo Pizarro, 68’); Rogelio Funes Mori (Héctor Moreno, 78’), Rodrigo Aguirre

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Fernando Gorriarán (25’ - penalty), Félix Torres (32’), Harold Preciado (84’), Brian Lozano (90’ - penalty); Monterrey - Rogelio Funes Mori (16’, 66’ - penalty), Rodrigo Aguirre (21’)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Roni Prieto (Yellow - 3’), Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 49’) Eduardo Fentanes (Yellow - 79’) ; Monterrey - César Montes (Yellow - 40’), Maximiliano Meza (Yellow - 45+1’), Stefan Medina (Yellow - 90+11’)