After embarrassing Pumas in Mexico City on Sunday, Santos had a chance to do something they hadn’t in almost two years: win back-to-back games on the road. They were able to keep the momentum going, beating Xolos in Tijuana by a 2-0 score.
Although both teams had some early possession, Santos was the first to get a good chance when Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre drew a foul in the sixth minute. The free kick lead to Alan Cervantes sending a ball in that could have been a cross that missed the runner or a shot that missed the far post just wide. In the 12th minute Tijuana had a corner kick that Santos couldn’t clear out of danger, however Xolos shots were blocked and the final attempt from Joaquín Montecinos went wide of the net. After Jair González appeared to roll his ankle, he was subbed out for Leo Suárez in the 16th minute. Montecinos sent a shot in on goal in the 20th but it was from distance and Carlos Acevedo saw it the entire way, easily stopping the chance.
Santos had a great chance in the 23rd when Mudo played a nice give-and-go with Harold Preciado and hit a shot off of Preciado’s backheel pass. The shot was saved, and though the rebound went straight back to Aguirre, his header went just over the bar and out. Typical of games on the turf, the pace of play was breakneck as the teams raced up and down the field, always seeming to be chasing the game. Montecinos was able to seize a moment and unleash a shot in the 33rd that was tipped over the bar by Acevedo. Iván López had a good chance in the 35th minute but he sent the ball well wide of the mark. Heading into stoppage time of the first half, Leo Suárez made a nice move to get past the defender and get the ball to Aguirre, but the resulting shot was off of the mark. The teams went into the locker rooms after 45 minutes no closer to either getting three points than when they started.
Xolos had the first chance of the second half early when Alexis Canelo sent a ball across the goal mouth, but no one was there to tap it in. In the 48th, Juan Brunetta drew a foul on the edge of the box, but Fernando Gorriarán’s free kick went well over the bar. After several back-and-forth minutes, Santos finally broke through in the 55th when Juan Brunetta hit a shot from the top of the box that went under the Tijuana goalkeeper’s outstretched arms.
Once they’d established the lead, Santos did well to keep the pressure on the hosts. It paid odd in the 64th minute when Leo Suárez drove toward the box and Nico Díaz caught him high on the leg with a sliding tackle. After a VAR review, Díaz was shown a red card and Santos was awarded a free kick just outside of the box. While the free kick failed to connect, the hosts were down a player for the remaining 25 minutes.
This however seemed to embolden Tijuana, who may have felt like they had nothing to lose. The hosts kept constant pressure on the visitors, however they had a difficult time creating any real chances. Santos meanwhile weren’t able to generate much in the early minutes after the red card, however they were able to do enough to grant themselves a momentary respite and get the ball out of their own end. Alan Cervantes had a decent shot from distance in the 75th. At the other end, Renato Ibarra had a shot from distance that was tipped by Acevedo and clattered off of the crossbar. On the ensuing corner kick, Acevedo made yet another fantastic save to keep the hosts off of the board. Then on the break, Javier Correa hit a beautiful, curling shot from about 25 yards out that doubled the lead for Santos.
There was some controversy in the 80th minute when Carlos Orrantia tracked down a ball in the box and bumped it down. It looked like it hit off of his leg and then made contact with his arm, however the angle was such that it wasn’t clear if it happened inside of or outside of the box. Referee Adonai Escobedo reviewed it at the VAR booth, and indicated that it was not a penalty, much to the dismay of the home crowd.
This seemed to take the wind out of the hosts, as their shots were largely off-frame and not bothering Acevedo. Santos was able to see out the game and get their second straight win on the road.
Tijuana hosts Rayados on Sunday, August 28 before heading to San Luis Potosí for a midweek match against Atlético San Luis on Thursday, September 1. Santos meanwhile will return home to face San Luis on Sunday, August 28 and don’t have a midweek match next week. Santos will however be without Fernando Gorriarán, whose fifth yellow card of the season disqualifies him from playing against Atleti.
Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Nicolás Díaz, Lisandro Lopez, Víctor Guzmán, Ismael Govea; Alexis Canelo (Fabián Castillo, 60’), José Juan Vázquez, Kevin Castañeda (Francisco Contreras, 60’), Federico Lertora; Iván López (Franco Di Santo, 67’), Joaquín Montecinos (Renato Ibarra, 61’)
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Omar Campos (Roni Prieto, 86’), Hugo Rodríguez, Félix Torres, Carlos Orrantia; Juan Brunetta (Javier Correa, 72’), Fernando Gorriarán, Alan Cervantes, Jair González (Leo Suárez, 16’); Eduardo Aguirre (Cecilio Domínguez, 72’), Harold Preciado (Aldo López, 86’)
Scoring: Club Tijuana - None; Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (55’), Javier Correa (77’)
Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Kevin Castañeda (Yellow - 6’), Nicolás Díaz (Red - 64’), Ismael Govea (Yellow - 79’); Santos Laguna - Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 36’), Alan Cervantes (Yellow - 69’), Juan Brunetta (Yellow - 71’)