Draws are never supposed to be satisfying. While they may be a fair result, teams rarely take joy in taking one point instead of three. Atlas outplayed Santos in the first half and got two great goals in the second, and while usually that would have been enough, Santos got a goal during that first half and one in the second as well but dropped the lead both times. A point on the road is great, but not as great as three.
The early moments of the match saw both teams trying to force one another to play in tight spaces near midfield, swarming one another with every movement of the ball in an attempt to limit lanes and force poor decisions. Eventually the game opened up, with teams then attempting to fire the ball downfield and try and get someone on the end of it. It was usually unsuccessful, however there was some entertainment when Atlas goalkeeper Camilo Vargas came way off of his line to head a ball that was still a couple of yards out of the box.
Atlas began to get the better of the momentum of the match around the tenth minute, pinning Santos back in their own end for a decent stretch. A foul along the end line by Félix Torres lead to a free kick but despite the proximity to goal, the attempt was easily cleared out by Santos. A poor turnover in the 24th minute lead to a chance for Atlas, but the attempt on goal went well wide of the net.
Santos however was able to turn the game on its head in the 26th minute when Harold Preciado won a ball, heading it over to Juan Brunetta. Brunetta then flicked a perfectly weighted ball on to Javier Correa, who had gotten lost between Atlas’ defenders. Correa took a touch in on goal with his shoulder and then hit a perfectly placed shot far post to give the visitors the lead.
Santos briefly kept coming after Atlas though, perhaps sensing the hosts were stunned, but couldn’t quite capitalize on it. Atlas meanwhile had a good chance in the 31st minute when Julián Quiñones got a header that went just wide of the far post. Atlas then had a great chance in the 40th minute when Jeremy Márquez crossed the ball into the box, it took a deflection and then hit Julián Quiñones in the stomach, redirecting it again. Carlos Acevedo had to jump into action to make the save. He was able to stop it but bobbled it a moment with Quiñones bearing down on him, but he was able to recover it before Quiñones or Aldo Rocha could recover it. Despite three minutes of stoppage and outplaying their guests, Atlas went into the locker room down a goal.
In the second half, Santos looked a little more animated but Atlas had the first good chance. One minute in Aldo Rocha unleashed a shot from just outside of the box that went just over the bar. Santos had a decent chance in the 53rd but Raúl “Dedos” López’ shot missed the mark. In the 59th minute Correa looked to have a good chance in on goal but took an extra touch and his eventual shot was blocked by a sliding Atlas defender. Both teams had a series of mis-hit balls, possibly as a result of the damage the pitch at Estadio Jalisco had undergone over the past weeks. In the 67th minute however Ozziel Herrera got onto a loose ball and put his foot all the way through it, sending it into the back of the net.
The 1-1 tie however was short lived, as in the 70th minute Harold Preciado played Juan Brunetta in on goal, and he took a touch and fired the equalizer home.
As quickly as the lead came however, it went. In the 77th minute Jaziel Martínez lifted a ball up and over everyone, and Julián Quiñones headed it in to draw the game level once more.
Quiñones wasn’t done, ringing one off of the post in the 83rd minute. Both teams fought valiantly, trying to get a game winning goal however neither was ultimately able to break through one more time and the match ended in a draw.
Atlas will remain at home to host Toluca on Wednesday, February 1 while Santos returns to Torreón to host América on Saturday, February 4.
Atlas: Camilo Vargas; José Abella, Anderson Santamaría, Martín Nervo, Luis Reyes; Jeremy Márquez (Brian Lozano, 68’), Aldo Rocha, Jaziel Martínez (Edgar Zaldivar, 79’); Ozziel Herrera (Diego Barbosa, 90+1’), Julio Furch (Christopher Trejo, 68), Julián Quiñones
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Raúl López (Jair González, 73’), Félix Torres, Hugo Rodríguez, Oscar Manzanarez (Matheus Dória, 82’), Omar Campos; Alan Cervantes, Aldo López; Javier Correa, Harold Preciado (Salvador Mariscal, 89’), Juan Brunetta
Scoring: Atlas - Ozziel Herrera (67’), Julián Quiñones (77’); Santos Laguna - Javier Correa (27’), Juan Brunetta (70’)
Disciplinary: Atlas - Camilo Vargas (Yellow - 8’), Luis Reyes (Yellow - 86’), Edgar Zaldivar (Yellow - 90’); Santos Laguna - Félix Torres (Yellow - 18’)