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Match recap: Rayados de Monterrey 3, Santos Laguna 0

An early goal set the tone as Rayados get a commanding win against Santos

Maximiliano Meza of Monterrey celebrates with teammates after scoring the team’s first goal during the 10th round match between Monterrey and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at BBVA Stadium on November 08, 2023 in Monterrey, Mexico. Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Santos’ path to the postseason just became more perilous, with a 3-0 loss at Monterrey now meaning they have to win Saturday against San Luis or risk being overtaken by one of six teams. Santos’ 20 points put them in the tenth and final spot, however Mazatlán, Puebla, Pachuca, Juárez, Querétaro, and Cruz Azul could pass them unless they get all three points. Rayados meanwhile will finish in the top three, sitting in second place with a game against Querétaro left on their regular season docket.

Santos came out looking for an early score, knowing that getting the home crowd out of the match early could be key. They read Rayados well, giving precious little in terms of passing lanes going forward, forcing Monterrey to work laterally before trying hopeful balls over the top. It almost worked, until Santos conceded a corner kick in the third minute that Maxi Meza converted, making an unmarked run into the box to put his header in.

Undeterred, Santos kept trying to make something happen but Rayados looked much more comfortable on the ball than in the opening minutes, content to force the visitors to make a play and take their chances when they got them. Joao Rojas had a good look in the 16th minute when he was able to break past the Santos line and get a shot on goal that was deflected just wide and out for a corner kick that ultimately went nowhere. Eventually Santos started getting some good possession going forward but weren’t really able to do much to cause goalkeeper Esteban Andrada to worry much during the remainder of the half.

The second half started off much like the first, with Santos looking to gain the early momentum and keeping Monterrey back on their heels. Rayados meanwhile seemed to expect it and sat back to absorb the pressure. And just like the first half, and early conceded corner by Santos lead to a header in on goal, however this time Carlos Acevedo was able to make a nice diving save to keep his team in the match.

Acevedo came up huge again in the 56th minute on an unintentional deflection from Ismael Govea. Then a few minutes later Emerson Rodríguez had a nice look with a shot in the box that Andrada did well to parry out for a corner. Santos decided to go for it in the 70th minute, subbing on attackers while removing left back Ismael Govea. It was a gamble that would backfire massively in the following minute when Rayados made a run down the right wing and hit a ball in for a shot that Acevedo made the initial save on. The ball however fell to Germán Berterame, who calmly added the second goal to the scoreboard.

Santos desperately pushed for a goal and had a chance in the 81st, but Andrada came up huge to tip the ball wide. This lead to a counterattack that Santos was luckily able to snuff out. They were not so lucky in the 87th minute when Víctor López hit a shot that Acevedo stopped, but the ball fell to César Garza who knocked it in for his first goal with the first team.

Santos had a chance late when Javier Correa got into the box, but it wasn’t to be as the ball wound up tangled in his feet, allowing the defense to get back and forcing him to take a poor shot.

Monterrey ends the regular season by heading to Querétaro to face los Gallos Blancos on Saturday, November 11 while Santos will head to San Luis to face Atlético San Luis, also on Saturday, November 11.

Rayados de Monterrey: Esteban Andrada; Stefan Medina, Víctor Guzmán, César Bustos, Jesús Gallardo; César Garza, Luis Romo (Jonathan GOnzález, 79’); Maxi Meza, Arturo González (Omar Govea, 46’), Joao Rojas (Víctor López, 61’); Rogelio Funes Mori (Germán Berterame, 46’)

Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Ismael Govea (Duván Vergara, 70’), Félix Torres, Roni Prieto, Omar Campos (Emmanuel Echeverría, 74’); Aldo López, Pedro Aquino, Alan Cervantes (Pedro Aquino, 70’); Emerson Rodríguez (Santiago Muñoz, 70’), Harold Preciado (Javier Correa, 74’), Diego Medina

Scoring: Rayados de Monterrey - Maxi Meza (3’), Germán Berterame (71’), César Garza (87’); Santos Laguna - None

Disciplinary: Rayados de Monterrey - Stefan Medina (Yellow - 47’); Santos Laguna - Diego Medina (Yellow - 60’), Pedro Aquino (Yellow - 78’)