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Match recap: Mazatlán FC 1, Santos Laguna 2

Santos picks up a rare road win, downing Los Cañoneros 2-1 at El Kraken.

Harold Preciado and Marcelo Correa of Santos celebrate the second goal the team during the 3rd round match between Mazatlan FC and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX at Kraken Stadium on January 20, 2023 in Mazatlan, Mexico. Photo by Sergio Mejia/Getty Images

Santos has historically struggled on the road, and any points on the road are usually a cause to celebrate. Mazatlán struggled in their first game of the season and was eager to get home and get their first points of the year against a team that struggles on the road. But the tables were turned as Santos powered through and picked up a solid 2-1 win at El Kraken. Carlos Acevedo had a standout performance, and Juan Brunetta and Harold Preciado gave Los Guerreros all the goals they’d need.

Santos had a good opportunity to start the match in the second minute of play when Jair González crossed one into the box. Daniel Gutiérrez couldn’t quite get to it, and there was confusion among the defenders. One attempted to clear it, but instead hit the other, and the ball going out for a corner kick. González then got off a shot in the fourth minute that hit off of a defender, but luckily Gutiérrez read the deflection and made the save. A minute later in the other end, a ball in was deflected by Hugo Rodríguez on frame, forcing Carlos Acevedo to make a save. Acevedo was called into action again in the eighth minute, making a great save on an Ariel Nahuelpán shot and perhaps getting a finger on an attempt from Aké Loba that clattered off of the crossbar.

Nahuelpán came close again in the 13th minute, pushing his header just wide of the far post. Play settled down a bit but in the 20th minute Santos got some sustained pressure in the box and got off a couple of shots, however there were bodies in the way and in the right place, blocking them before they got on frame. Santos broke through however in the 34th minute when a pass from Félix Torres on the back line was touched on by Harold Preciado. Juan Brunetta got onto it and knocked it past Gutiérrez to give the visitors the lead.

Santos kept the pressure on, however Mazatlén was largely up to the task Their best chance of the remaining came came in the 45th minute with a shot from distance that forced Gutiérrez to make a diving save. Deep in stoppage Mazatlán almost pulled one back ,with Nicolás Benedetti sending one whistling past the near post just wide just before the teams went into the locker rooms.

At the start of the second half, Santos came down and had an immediate chance when Harold Preciado ripped one from close range, however a sliding tackle drove it out of bounds for a corner. Then at the other end Acevedo made another great save, stopping a shot from close range. In the 53rd minute Santos had another break in on goal, this time with Gutiérrez making a stop on Javier Correa’s shot.

There was controversy in the 59th minute when during a scrum Ariel Nahuelpán jumped at and tried to kick a ball near the goal and appeared to catch Acevedo with a cleat. Nahuelpán initially went down to the ground but got back up. Acevedo stood for a moment but then went to ground, causing Nahuelpán to charge toward him. He was immediately swarmed by Santos players, however cooler heads prevailed. Nahuelpán had the last laugh though in the 62nd minute, getting on to a cross from Nicolás Benedetti and heading it in past Acevedo to draw the sides level.

Santos wasn’t done however and in the 76th minute looked to have scored when Hugo Rodríguez looked to have scored, but was correctly ruled to have been offside. A minute later though Harold Preciado headed in a brilliant cross from Aldo López that was onside and stood, giving Santos the lead.

Santos almost got a third in the 82nd minute when Omar Campos blew down the left flank and hit a cross that looked destined for Juan Brunetta, but only a sliding tackle from Raúl Sandoval saved the day for the hosts. Santos kept coming at Mazatlán, trying to add an insurance goal. Just before the 90 minute mark, Brunetta made some nice moves down the left and cut in, but his shot hit the side netting on the near side. Two minutes into stoppage Correa had a shot from the right side that Gutiérrez did well to save. In the end, Santos proved to be too much and picked up three big points on the road.

Mazatlán heads to Mexico City to face América on Saturday, January 28 while Santos continues on to Guadalajara to face Atlas on Thursday, January 26.

Mazatlán FC: Daniel Gutiérrez; Raúl Sandoval, Efraín Orona, Enrique Cedillo, Jorge Padilla (Bryan Colula, 87’); Yoel Bárcenas (Miguel Sansores, 87’), Jeferson Intriago (David Colman, 87’), Roberto Meráz , Nicolás Benedetti; Aké Loba, Ariel Nahuepán (Alfonso Sánchez, 72’)

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Raúl López, Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Omar Campos (Rivaldo Lozano, 90+5’); Jair González (Matheus Dória, 45’), Aldo López, Alan Cervantes, Juan Brunetta; Javier Correa, Harold Preciado (Salvador Mariscal, 87’)

Scoring: Mazatlán FC - None; Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (34’), Harold Preciado (77’)

Disciplinary: Mazatlán FC - Roberto Meráz (Yellow - 25’); Santos Laguna - Eduardo Fentanes (Yellow - 75’), Omar Campos (Yellow - 83’), Carlos Acevedo (Yellow - 90+3’)