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Match recap: América 3, Santos Laguna 3

A wild match sees América’s nine-game win streak come to an end as Santos gets a 3-3 draw.

Carlos Orrantia of Santos Laguna battles for possession with Alejandro Zendejas of America during the 5th round match between America and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Azteca Stadium on September 14, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Club América’s nine-game win streak came to an end as Santos gave Las Águilas more than they could handle for most of the match. A late autogol gave the hosts a glimmer of hope however, and a goal well into stoppage allowed the hosts to salvage a tie.

While it was América that took the early lead on possession, It was Santos that had the first good look in the fourth minute when Juan Brunetta made a fantastic run into the box before being knocked down. The ball went out to Harold Preciado, but his shot went wide. A brief review by the VAR officials came to the conclusion that the contact was minimal and play was allowed to continue. Santos broke through however in the seventh minute when Carlos Orrantia drove deep and passed the ball back to Leo Suárez. The ex-América winger sliced through his former team’s defense and unleashed a blast that beat Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa.

The lead was extremely short lived however, because on the ensuing kickoff América came down and ex-Santos midfielder Diego “El Mago” Valdés hit a shot from distance that Carlos Acevedo made a save on. Henry Martín however got to the rebound and put it into the roof of the empty net for the equalizer.

The game took on a frenetic pace, with América seemingly convinced that quick plays would help confuse Santos’ patchwork defense. Santos however did well to have players drop back and help fill in holes in the defense and clog passing lanes. On the attack, Santos tried to slow things down, being patient on the ball and not being afraid to utilize the back pass early and often. It paid off when Leo Suárez drove down and hit a shot on frame. It took a deflection off of the back of Néstor Araújo and went in past Ochoa to give Santos the lead again.

Santos almost had another in the 20th minute when Fernando Gorriarán was given a lot of time and space just outside of the top of the box. He hit a shot that beat Ochoa but hit off of the outside of the post and went out of bounds. Then in the 26th minute Valdés hit a bouncing shot off of the ground that forced Acevedo make a fantastic save. The rest of the half calmed down from the blistering pace of the first part of the half, with neither team threatening much with the exception of a late shot from (another) ex-Santos player Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez that went wide of the mark.

The second half also started out a bit calm, however in the 51st América hit a free kick that Acevedo saved. He sent the ball down the field immediately to Juan Brunetta, who noticed Memo Ochoa off of his line and got a touch on the ball, but it went over the top of the crossbar and onto the top netting. América had a wonderful chance in the 55th when Diego Valdés sent Miguel Layún in on goal. His shot deflected off Acevedo and hit the post, resulting in Layún, Acevedo, and Roni Prieto winding up in a tangled mass along the goal line.

Santos however pulled further ahead in the 63rd minute when they hit América on the counter. Harold Preciado played Juan Brunetta forward, and Brunetta put a shot on frame that Memo Ochoa made a diving stop on. Preciado however never stopped running and got to the rebound and tapped it in.

América tried to draw one back in the 68th when Roger Martínez played in Brian Rodríguez, who attempted to center the ball but Acevedo blocked it with his face and the resulting shot went well off frame. IN the 72nd minute it was Carlos Orrantia unleashing a rocket that made Ochoa make a diving save to punch it out of danger. There was a bit of controversy in the 77th minute when a Miguel Layún cross hit Roni Prieto in the box. The América players were adamant it was a handball, but a brief VAR review confirmed it hit Prieto’s chest and no penalty was awarded, much to the dismay of the partisan crowd at Estadio Azteca.

Santos kept back defensively but looked to go forward on the counterattack when the opportunity presented itself. Diego Medina had such an opportunity in the 81st minute, making a run and taking a good shot that Ochoa stopped. In the 85th Gorriarán sent a good ball in for Javier Correa, but he could only get the slightest of touches on it before Ochoa pounced on it. América however drew one back in the 86th minute when Layún sent a ball in that found the head of Roger Martínez. Martínez redirected it and it deflected off of Hugo Rodríguez to bring the hosts within one late.

América thought they had an equalizer in the 89th minute when Brian Rodríguez sent a ball in that Acevedo tipped, and Henry Martín’s resulting shot went well over the bar. Acevedo then made another save on a shot from distance. But América kept pushing and in the seventh minute of the six minutes of allotted stoppage time Federico Viñas gota header past Acevedo for the equalizer at the death.

América will remain in Mexico City as they prepare to host archrival Chivas for the Clásico Nacional on Saturday, September 17 while Santos returns home to host FC Juárez on Sunday, September 18.

América: Guillermo Ochoa; Luis Fuentes (Salvador Reyes, 52’), Sebastián Caceres, Néstor Araujo, Miguel Layún; Alvaro Fidalgo, Richard Sánchez (Pedro Aquino, 80’); Jonathan Rodríguez (Brian Rodríguez, 64’), Diego Valdés (Roger Martínez, 65’), Alex Zendejas (Federico Viñas, 80’); Henry Martín

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia, Hugo Rodríguez, Roni Prieto, Omar Campos (Cecilio Domínguez, 78’); Leo Suárez (Andrés Ávila, 68’), Alan Cervantes, Fernando Gorriarán, Juan Brunetta (Aldo López, 77’); Harold Preciado (Diego Medina, 68’), Eduardo Aguirre (Javier Correa, 57’)

Scoring: América - Henry Martín (8’), Hugo Rodríguez (autogol - 86’), Federico Viñas (90+7’); Santos Laguna - Leo Suárez (7’, 16’), Harold Preciado (63’)

Disciplinary: América - None; Santos Laguna - Harold Preciado (Yellow - 22’), Hugo Rodríguez (Yellow - 23’), Omar Campos (Yellow - 73’), Eduardo Fentanes (Yellow - 90+1’), Fernando Gorriarán (Yellow - 90+2’), Cecilio Domínguez (Yellow - Full Time)