Santos thought they had a lead, then had to battle back from behind but managed to win their fourth out of five at home by downing León 2-1. The 13 out of a possible 15 points at TSM as well as a game in hand on most teams has allowed Santos to remain within striking distance of a spot in the Liguilla. León meanwhile ends the evening in 12th place, fighting desperately to remain in the repechaje zone.
León started strong and wasted no time in going after Santos, playing a ball over the top just 40 seconds in that Carlos Acevedo had to come off of his line to smother. About two minutes later Lucas Di Yorio was able to get the ball in the box, turning and firing a shot that hit the outside of the post and went out. Santos looked uncharacteristically flat in the early minutes, and León pressed them mercilessly whenever they gained possession. They’d eventually find their rhythm by moving the ball laterally and looking for space to open up behind the midfield. Santos eventually wore down León’s midfield, forcing them into a series of fouls and disrupting the flow of play. Santos got their first decent chance on goal in the 20th minute with a shot from Juan Brunetta, but it was a slow roller that Rodolfo Cota saw the entire way and gathered easily. Fernando Gorriarán tried his luck in the 23rd from a considerable distance, but the ball went well into the stands.
Santos looked like they had broken through in the 27th minute when a nice hearer along the line by Gorriarán found Jair González, who passed it on to Javier Correa. Correa hit a shot in the box that went past Cota, but the AR had the flag raised as Brunetta was in an offside position despite not being involved in the play and possibly being kept on regardless by Byron Castillo. After a short booth review, the call was upheld and no goal was awarded.
Regardless of the goal not standing, it lit a bit of a fire under the home side, who looked much more confident on the ball going forward. A corner kick in the 35th minute lead to a Jair González header that went just wide of the net. León however drew first blood in the 37th when some nice passing found Fidel Ambríz alone at the top of the box, and he hit a hard shot along the ground that Acevedo couldn’t get to.
Santos hit back almost immediately when a nice dummy allowed the ball to get out to Omar Campos on the left, and he hit a hard shot along the ground past Cota to draw the sides level in the 40th.
Santos kept at it, and got a header that just missed as the clock passed the 45 minute mark. Carlos Orrantia almost had a wonderful goal in stoppage when he one-timed a cross from Campos on the left that just missed the mark. Moments later referee Víctor Caceres blew the whistle to end the half.
Santos wasted precious time getting on the front foot in the second half, winning a free kick from about 20 yards out a minute in. Unfortunately for the home side, Juan Brunetta’s attempt went into the wall. Santos did well to provide multiple options for players going forward, almost always having a free option, usually Jair González along the right wing. In the 56th Juan Brunetta had a good look, but Cota was able to make a diving stop on the low shot. Santos looked to have scored again in the 63rd minute off of a free kick that was headed in, but was once again whistled offside. A lengthy VAR review however reversed the call despite it appearing that Félix Torres was in an offside position before he headed the ball in.
Santos came back down the field and Brunetta hit a shot through traffic that was deflected out just wide of the net. Brunetta had another chance in the 71st but Cota was able to make the stop on it. Santos seized on the momentum and pinned León in their own end of the field for several minutes, forcing Cota to make stops on some crosses through the box. Harold Preciado had a rip from distance in the 81st minute that went just wide of the near post. Diego Medina hada good chance on a header off of a corner kick in stoppage time, but the angle it was driven into the turf meant it sailed well over the crossbar. Santos barely allowed León a sniff of goal in the second half, and ran the clock out to pick up their fourth win at home this season and moving at least temporarily into sixth place in the league table.
Santos heads to CU to face Pumas on Sunday, August 21 while León heads to Pachuca to face Tuzos, also on Sunday, August 21.
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia, Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Omar Campos; Juan Brunetta (Leo Suárez, 85’), Alan Cervantes, Fernando Gorriarán, Jair González (Harold Preciado, 59’); Eduardo Aguirre (Aldo López, 85’), Javier Correa (Diego Medina, 75’)
León: Rodolfo Cota; Stiven Barreiro, Julien Celestine, Paul Bellón; Byron Castillo, José Rodríguez (Javier Ibarra, 82’), Fidel Ambríz, Osvaldo Rodríguez (Víctor Dávila, 75’); Ángel Mena (Joel Campbell, 59’), Lucas Di Yorio, Yairo Moreno (Federico Martínez, 59’)
¡Vamos #LaFiera con el 11 de @calientesports!— Club León (@clubleonfc) August 18, 2022
¡Regístrate en https://t.co/ScUYtgt40b y recibe $400 de regalo para apostar por #LaFiera! https://t.co/dbNcCZA2dT#ApuestaEnCaliente #MásAcciónMásDiversión pic.twitter.com/8R59fY8Kzt
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Omar Campos (40’), Félix Torres (65’); León - Fidel Ambríz (37’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (Yellow - 12’); León - Osvaldo Rodríguez (Yellow - 11’), José Rodríguez (Yellow - 38’), Paul Bellón (Yellow - 51’), Joel Campbell (Yellow - 90+3’)