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Match recap: Santos Laguna 5, FC Juárez 1

A statement win over regional rivals Juárez puts Santos back in the repechaje hunt.

Marcelo Correa of Santos celebrates after scoring the team´s fifth goal during the 14th round match between Santos Laguna and FC Juarez as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images

Santos ends October on a high note, thrashing FC Juárez 5-1 on the back of a brace by Juan Brunetta and an all-around good performance. Harold Preciado got his league-leading tenth goal and Juan Brunetta’s brace propelled Santos back into a repechaje position, sitting in eleventh place with just one Week 14 match left to go at the time of this writing.

The match started out rather slowly, with neither team getting much in the way of looks at goal. Duván Vergara had a shot near target in the sixth minute, but the attempt wasn’t troubling Alfredo Talavera at all. There was a scary clash of heads in the 11th minute when Alan Cervantes and Diego “Puma” Chávez went for a ball and collided hard. Both players were down on the pitch but were eventually able to continue, with Chávez receiving a yellow card. Juan Brunetta took the ensuing corner kick, and only a fantastic diving save from Talavera kept Brunetta’s shot from going into the top corner of the net. Finally after some back-and-forth play Santos broke through when Brunetta lofted a ball up into the mixer and the Juárez defense failed to properly mark Harold Preciado, leaving the striker far too much space. Preciado was able to go up and head the ball in to the back of the net to give the home side the lead.

In the 26th minute Santos almost doubled the lead when they caught Juárez on a counterattack. A nice pass from Brunetta found a wide-open Duván Vergara along the left wing. Vergara took a touch and a step and fired, but Talavera made another brilliant save to keep Los Bravos in the match. In the 31st, a poor giveaway to Avilés Hurtado started a counterattack. Hurtado ran out of space but slotted the ball out wide to Michael Santos, who knocked a great shot past Acevedo to draw the sides level. There was a brief VAR review to check for an offside, but the goal stood.

The scoreline didn’t last long however. In the 35th minute Félix Torres got his head onto a nice ball into the box and gave Santos the lead back, atoning for his error minutes before.

The second half of the match started out much like the first half did, with both teams trying to get some momentum going. Santos was able to capitalize on their efforts, with a nice run from Vergara down the left leaving space in behind for Brunetta. Vergara executed the cut-back pass perfectly, and Brunetta’s shot took a deflection and went into the back of the net.

After this goal, Juárez looked lost. Passes often seemed too long, too short, or too often to no one in particular. The hold-up play was pensive, and even some of the simplest link-ups seemed overly complicated. When they were able to put things together, the shots weren’t good quality. Michael Santos had a look in the 65th minute, but sent his long-range opportunity well high and wide of the net. Santos meanwhile was happy to sit back and allow Juárez to punch themselves out. Vergara had a decent look in the 68th minute, but hit shot from the top of the box hit a defender and went out for a corner.

Juárez finally got a good look in the 75th mintue when a ball out to the left flank found Agustín Urzi, who volleyed the pass on frame but Carlos Acevedo read the play well and made the stop. Two minutes later Santos hit Juárez on another counterattack, and Brunetta once again made a nice run and an even better finish to extend Santos’ lead to 4-1.

Santos wasn’t done however, and Javier Correa forced a turnover deep and took off toward goal. Talavera came out to try and defend but Correa went around him and easily slotted the ball into the back of the net.

With the match all but settled, the teams saw the rest of the match out without much ado. Santos now heads to Mazatlán to face Los Cañoneros on Wednesday, November 1 before returning home to host toluca on Sunday, November 5. Juárez meanwhile heads to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul on Wednesday, November 1 before finally returning home to host Querétaro on Sunday, November 5.

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Omar Campos, Hugo Rodríguez, Félix Torres, Raúl López; Alan Cervantes, Pedro Aquino; Duván Vergara (Diego Medina, 69’), Juan Brunetta (Santiago Muñoz, 79’), Emerson Rodríguez (Jair González, 81’); Harold Preciado (Javier Correa, 69’)

FC Juárez: Alfredo Talavera: Luis Rodríguez, Moises Mosquera, Gonzalo Pelúa, Andrija Vukcevic; Javier Salas, Denzell García, Sebastián Saucedo (Agustín Urzi, 53’), Diego Chávez (Francisco Nevarez, 53’); Avilés Hurtado, Michael Santos (Santiago Ormeño, 81’)

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Harold Preciado (23’), Félix Torres (35’), Juan Brunetta (49’, 77’) Javier Correa (80’); FC Juárez - Michael Santos (31’)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (Yellow - 39’), Pablo Repetto (Yellow - 45+3’); FC Juárez - Diego Chávez (Yellow - 11’), Moises Mosquera (Yellow - 47’)