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Match recap: Santos Laguna 3, UNAM Pumas 0

A brace for Diego Medina cements Santos’ first win of the season as they down Pumas 3-0.

Matheus Doria of Santos looks on during the 1st round match between Santos Laguna and Tigres UANL as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on January 8, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Last week, Santos went down a player at home and lost, while Pumas took advantage of a shorthanded Juárez to win their opener. This week no one was sent off, and with even elevens for all ninety, Santos was able to grab a 3-0 win on the back of a Diego Medina brace.

The match started out with both teams buzzing about, but not really creating much. Pumas had a decent opportunity in the fifth minute when a ball was floated into the box and Carlos Acevedo collided with his defender while gathering the ball, however he was able to hang onto it and everyone was unhurt. A minute later, Pumas goalkeeper Sebastián Sosa gathered a Juan Brunetta free kick, and inexplicably ran outside of the box with the ball in his hands. Referee Luis Santander awarded a free kick, and while Brunetta hit a great shot through traffic on frame, Sosa bailed himself out with an even better save. Santos was building some momentum, moving the ball well and keeping Pumas back on their heels. Pumas however did have a good opportunity in the 13th minute when a shot from just outside of the box by Eduardo Salvio was tipped over the bar by Acevedo. Santos however was able to break through two minutes later when after another rush downfield, Preciado and Brunetta played a wonderful give and go, with Preciado taking the shot. It hit a defender in the chest and deflected on net to Sosa, who was only able to parry it away. Diego Medina however was in the right place at the right time and knocked it in past the prone goalkeeper. There was a pause after the goal however with some discussions with both teams with Santander, but the goal was allowed to stand.

Immediately after, Santos got the ball and went downfield, with Brunetta knocking one into the mixer. Preciado got his head onto it, but deflected it high over the goal. A minute later, Omar Campos made a nice run past his defender and crossed it in, but Sosa once again was able to make a fantastic save to keep Pumas in the match. Pumas had a chance at the other end in the 25th minute when Dinenno uncorked a shot from distance but Acevedo saw it the entire way and easily got in front of it. A minute later Edgar Alaffita had a rip from distance, but it went high of its intended mark. The momentum had swung back toward favoring Pumas, but they relied too heavily on shots from distance without screening Acevedo to be effective. Pumas has another chance in the 43rd minute with a free kick from just outside of the box, but it went just over the bar. Then as the match went past the 45 minute mark, Salvio had a great chance from just inside the box, but his shot went just inches on the outside of the post. Pumas had regained control of the run of play, and luckily for Santos time ran out on the first half before the visitors could equalize.

Santos started out the second half on the front foot, and had a good chance off of a corner kick in the 46th minute but Sebastián Sosa stopped a shot from Harold Preciado with his neck and somehow seemed none the worse for wear after doing so. Santos then had a decent chance in the 51st minute on a nice build up, but the eventual shot from Juan Brunetta wasn’t hit with much power and Sosa stopped it rather easily. Javier Correa had a decent look in the 55th minute, but his shot was high and wide. Santos did well to choke off the passing lanes that Pumas used, not allowing plays to develop and more often than not starting a counterattack after intercepting the ball.

Pumas however had a great chance in the 60th minute when Dinenno had a shot on goal that Acevedo came off of his line to save. The rebound however fell to Salvio, and his shot at what looked to be an open net was cleared off of the line by Félix Torres. Then Santos raced down to the other end and Omar Campos this a cross that deflected off of a defender on its way to Preciado. His shot was stopped by Sosa, but the rebound fell to Diego Medina, who easily tapped it in for the brace to double the lead for the hosts.

Pumas went about trying to get one back immediately however, and Salvio almost did just that in the 65th with a shot that whistled just wide of the far post. Santos almost had a third when Matheus Dória, who had subbed on moments earlier in his first appearance of the season, hit one in off of the crossbar, but it was ruled to have been offside. In the 71st César Huerta hit a shot that Acevedo seemed to have trouble reading, but despite the swerve and dip on the shot he was able to get his arm on it and make the save. Dinenno put one on frame in the 72nd minute that Acevedo stopped, but he couldn’t hang on to the ball. The rebound looked destined to get to Salvio, but Torres once again was there to save the day, knocking the ball out of bounds. Acevedo then made a fantastic save in the 75th to tip a shot over the bar.

Then there was some controversy as Pumas thought a shot was handled in the box. After a few minutes of continuous play, Santos drove down and Preciado had a shot that Sosa saved. In trying to corral the rebound, the Pumas defender kicked Preciado in the box and a penalty was awarded. After a couple of minutes for the VAR booth to review the sequence, Preciado’s penalty stood and he buried the shot into the back of the net.

Pumas tried valiantly to draw one back but Santos played them well, limiting their chances despite there being five minutes of added time at the end of the match. Santos hung on for their first win and first shutout of 2023. Santos now heads to Mazatlán to face Los Cañoneros on Friday, January 20, while Pumas returns home to host León on Sunday, January 22.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Raúl López (Matheus Dória, 63’), Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Omar Campos (Rivaldo Lozano, 87’); Alan Cervantes, Aldo López, Juan Brunetta, Javier Correa (Salvador Mariscal, 77’); Harold Preciado, (E Perez, 87’), Javier Medina (Jair González, 77’)

UNAM Pumas: Sebastián Sosa; Pablo Bennevendo (Carlos Gutiérrez, 69’), Ricardo Galindo, Nicolás Friere, Adrián Aldrete (Alek Álvarez, 69’); Arturo Ortíz, Edgar Alaffita (Marco García, 69’); Daniel González (César Huerta, 45’), Gustavo Del Prete (Diogo De Oliveira, 77’), Eduardo Salvio; Juan Ignacio Dinenno

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Javier Medina (15’, 60’), Harold Preciado (86’ - penalty); UNAM Pumas - None

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Félix Torres (Yellow - 43’); UNAM Pumas - Ricardo Galindo (Yellow - 5’)