For the first time since 2018, Santos has won four straight games after downing Atlético de San Luis 4-1 at TSM. Santos got an early penalty conversion and never looked back, with only a golazo from ageless wonder Rubens Sambueza as the match headed into stoppage spoiling what would have been Santos’ fourth shutout of the season.
San Luis wasted no time whatsoever, immediately kicking the ball downfield and forcing Carlos Acevedo to come off of his line and punch the ball out of the box just nine second into the match. Santos was however able to get possession and then slow the pace of the game down a bit. Five minutes in Leo Suárez played a great ball in to Harold Preciado, who got into the box and was bowled over by Marcelo Barovero. Referee Fernando Guerrero immediately pointed to the spot, and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre calmly converted from the spot to give the hosts an early lead.
Santos almost gave up a good chance immediately after when Hugo Rodríguez passed a ball back to Carlos Acevedo, with Juan Manuel Sanabria bearing down on him. A feint by Acevedo saw Sanabria go into a slide tackle, which Acevedo easily avoided before passing the ball out to safety before Abel Hernández could catch him from behind. In the 12th minute Preciado played a nice give-and-go but his shot went just wide of the far post.
Santos kept the pressure on San Luis, keeping the ball in the San Luis end for long periods of time and choking the game while still looking for opportunities to extend their lead. It looked like they actually had extended the lead in the 18th minute when Félix Torres was played in on goal and tapped it in past Barovero, but he was one of four players offside when the initial pass went in and the goal was immediately called off. San Luis finally made it back down to the Santos end a couple of minutes later, and Sanabria hit a blistering shot that sailed wide of the far post. Facundo Waller hit a free kick on frame in the 24th minute, but Acevedo had no problem getting in front of it. A minute later, Félix Torres pulled up holding his left leg and had to take a ride on the golf cart to come out of the match. Already missing Dória, Santos put Roni Prieto on the back line with Hugo Rodríguez.
Preciado had another good look at goal in the 32nd minute, forcing Barovero to make a huge save to keep the lead at one. At the other end, Ricardo Chávez had a go from distance in the 34th but Acevedo easily stopped the slow roller. In the 42nd, Aguirred made a great play to keep a ball in bounds and get it to Preciado, who himself made a great play to control the ball and go past the defender, but his shot was again stopped by Barovero in a diving save. In stoppage time a poor pass from Rodríguez to Prieto was picked off, but Rodríguez made a fantastic play to recover and clear the ball out of bounds. Santos had a good shot from Aguirre sail just wide of the far post, and then in the dying seconds got a free kick from about 25 yards out. Juan Brunetta’s attempt went over the bar and the whistle sounded, sending the hosts into the locker room with the lead.
Santos started out the second half on the same foot, with Juan Brunetta forcing a turnover and sending a shot that just missed the top far corner a minute into the half. Two minutes later Leo Suárez finally broke through, getting a throw in and hittin a laser with his left foot that caught everyone unawares.
San Luis tried to pull one back in the 50th minute, but couldn’t find the space to get off a good shot. The chance fizzled out into a counterattack from Santos, but San Luis was able to get defenders back into position to nullify the opportunity. In the 53rd Preciado again got played in and hit a shot, but his angle was off and it went into the side netting. In the 55th minute Jhon Murillo was played in on goal and Alan Cervantes hit a slide tackle in the box to dispossess the forward. Murillo went down, but Guerrero did not call the penalty. Preciado once again came close in the 57th minute, hitting a nice header off of a cross, but a fantastic save by Barovero again denied the goal. He’d come off a minute later, having constantly tested San Luis but ultimately unable to score.
Aguirre meanwhile almost got a second in the 61st when he was played in on goal but unfortunately got the ball lost in his feet and the chance was cleared. two minutes later Javier Correa got onto a loose ball in the box and smashed it in past Barovero for Santos’ third of the evening.
There was a bit more controversy in the 67th when Cecilio Domínguez went into the box to get onto a pass and hit the deck, but Guerrero again declined to call for a penalty. Rubens Sambueza had a decent opportunity in the 75th minute but his shot went well wide of the net. A minute later, Carlos Orrantia made a fantastic pass to Rivaldo Lozano, who easily deflected the ball into the empty net for his first goal with Santos - and against his former team nonetheless.
Santos wasn’t done. Leo Suárez went for a brace in the 84th, hitting a blast from the top corner of the box that Barovero had to deflect out of bounds. In stoppage time, Rubens Sambueza got onto the end of a nice pass from Abel Hernández and hit a rocket past Acevedo, spoiling the shutout but ultimately not changing the outcome of the match.
Santos will face former head coach Guillermo Almada and Pachuca on Saturday, September 3 in Pachuca while San Luis returns home to host Tijuana on Thursday, September 1.
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia, Félix Torres (Roni Prieto, 27’), Hugo Rodríguez, Omar Campos (Rivaldo Lozano, 68’); Leo Suárez, Aldo López, Alan Cervantes, Juan Brunetta (Cecilio Domínguez, 58’); Eduardo Aguirre (Diego Medina, 68’), Harold Preciado (Javier Correa, 58’)
Atlético de San Luis: Marcelo Barovero; Ricardo Chávez, Fernando León, Rodrigo González, Aldo Cruz (Uziel García. 79’); Juan Manuel Sanabria (Juan Castro, 65’), Javier Güémez (Andrés Iniestra, 79’), Facundo Waller (Rubens Sambueza, 64’); Jhon Murillo, Abel Hernández, Vitinho
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Eduardo Aguirre (7’ - penalty), Leo Suárez (48’), Javier Correa (63’), Rivaldo Lozano (77’); Atlético de San Luis - Rubens Sambueza (90’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (Yellow - 38’); Atlético de San Luis - Abel Hernández (Yellow - 78’)