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Atletico San Luis shock Leon to qualify for the Liguilla

Atletico San Luis got a surprising 3-1 win that eliminates Leon and books their ticket to the quarterfinals

Leon v Atletico San Luis - Playoff Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Atletico San Luis struck at the right time to get their first win in Leon in the repechaje by a 3-1 score. Leon was the heavy favorite to qualify to the Liguilla days after booking their ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League Final, but were surprised by a lively San Luis coupled by some terrible mistakes on defense that ended their campaign early. Atletico San Luis will now face Club America in the Quarterfinals of the Clausura 2023 tournament, and they should be even more favored to defeat San Luis than Leon was.

The first half started with San Luis missing their regular goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero, having Andres Sanchez instead. Leo Bonatini was also starting as a forward instead of Angel Zaldivar. Leon meanwhile had their best eleven starting. Three minutes into the match a good combination play allowed Victor Davila to get the ball in the area, and he got off a great left footed shot past Sanchez for the goal that gave Leon the 1-0 lead. Minutes later, a terrible mistake from Adonis Frias allowed San Luis to tie things up. Frias gave a pass right to Leonardo Bonatini, who then strolled into the area as Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota got fooled and slipped, allowed Frias to slip the ball into an empty net for the goal that placed the game at 1-1, Later a pass in the area, Alfonso Alvarado got off a right footed shot that was saved by Sanchez. Then after a good set of moves in the area, Vitinho got off a left footed shot that went just wide. A shot from Jesus Ricardo Angulo went right to Sanchez. Alvarado got into the area but Sanchez dove and got the ball off of his feet. Then after a good pass in the area from Vitinho, Javier Guemez got off a great low right footed shot past Cota and into the net for a goal that gave San Luis the 2-1 lead. A great shot from Angulo was saved by Sanchez after it hit the post and bounced off his head in a very lucky play. San Luis would then respond and in great fashion. A shot from outside the area by Juan Sanabria was deflected right into the path of Vitinho, who got off a good low footed shot past Cota for the goal that gave San Luis the surprising 3-1 lead. Leon came close to scoring with the ball bouncing in the area but it was cleared before Angel Mena could get a header from close range. The halftime whistle blew and San Luis had shocked everybody in Guanajuato by taking a commanding lead to the second half.

The second half started with neither team making changes. San Luis had a great opportunity when Jhon Murillo got by Cota, who was way outside the area but he lost control of the ball and it went out. Leon subbed out Elias Hernandez for Yairo Moreno. San Luis subbed out Dieter Villalpando for Juan Castro. A cross into the area was headed by Alvarado but it went just wide. A shot from outside the area by Davila was ruled to have been handled by Sanabria and a penalty kick was given. Replays showed it shouldn’t have been called and after going to VAR, it was correctly waived off. Leon subbed out Jesus Ricardo Angulo, Ivan Moreno, and Lucas Romero for Joel Campbell, Byron Castillo, and Fidel Ambriz. Leon kept heavy pressure to get the goal, but San Luis started to sit back and counter and were doing a good job of neutralizing the home side. Leon then subbed out Alfonso Alvarado for Lucas Di Yorio. A great counter almost had a possible one-on-one, but Cota came out just in time to get to the ball before Bonatini. San Luis subbed out Jhon Murillo and Leo Bonatini for Andres Iniestra and Angel Zaldivar. A cross into the area turned into a shot but Sanchez came up with a big save. San Luis subbed out Vitinho and Ricardo Chavez for Jesus Piñuelas and Juan Martinez. Ambriz then got into the area but his low shot was blocked by Sanchez. A header by Di Yorio went right to Sanchez. San Luis continued to stifle Leon, and grabbed the surprising 3-1 win.

Atletico San Luis came into the match as the underdog but took advantage of mistakes by Leon to display a great level of play, offensively in the first half and defensively in the second. The victory made it three out of three so far of the away team winning in the repechaje, waiting on the Tigres vs Puebla result. A great level of play, from Vitinho especially, allowed San Luis to counter well and take advantage of a Leon side that looked to have come in overconfident, especially after defeating Tigres to get the ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League Final on Wednesday. Leon will now have to concentrate that series, a final where they will go in as underdogs against LAFC. San Luis will have a very tough task against Club America, where they will have two legs starting with the home game in San Luis Potosi before closing out in Mexico City.