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Match recap: Santos Laguna 2, Guadalajara 1

Torreón continues to be a house of horrors for Chivas, as they lose their first game of the season 2-1 against Santos.

Gibran Lajud, goalkeeper of Santos, celebrates the team’s first goal during the 6th round match between Santos Laguna and Chivas as part of Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Corona Stadium on August 26, 2023 in Torreon, Mexico. Photo by Jos Alvarez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos continued their dominance of Chivas at TSM, downing El Rebaño Sagrado 2-1 , keeping alive an unbeaten streak in Torreón that dates back to 2016. The halftime adjustments proved key, with all three goals coming after the break. With the win Santos moves up to sixth in the table, while Chivas is still hanging on as superlíder. unable to widen the gap over Juárez and possibly allowing Atlético San Luis to catch them, depending on their result.

The match started out a physical affair, with both teams hearing referee Oscar Mejía’s whistle often. This eventually lead to an Alan Cervantes foul in dangerous territory in the seventh minute, when Alexis Vega hit the free kick attempt on frame, forcing a great save from Gibrán Lajud. Off of the attempt Santos was able to counter, and Juan Brunetta had a look at goal but a brilliant defensive play from Alejandro Mayorga was able to keep Santos off of the board. In the 11th minute Juan Brunetta had a breakaway for Santos and Jesús Orozco Chiquete appeared to shove Brunetta down from behind near the edge of the box. Chiquete was shown a straight red card, but after a VAR review the red card was rescinded because the play was offside.

The pace of play wasn’t very fast, with both teams seemingly ok with taking a more methodical approach to ball movement. Of course, this meant that defenses were able to get back into position and compensate for what the opponent was trying to do. Santos had a decent chance on a corner kick in the 35th minute, but Matheus Dória’s trailing, far-post run was slightly mis-timed and the chance was left on the table. A minuye later, Duván Vergara hit a shot from distance that missed by less than a foot. Then in the 37th Alan Cervantes hit a wonderful curling shot that forced Miguel “Wacho” Jiménez to make a wonderful, diving save. Wacho was down for a couple of minutes after the save, being attended to by the medical staff, but he was ultimately able to continue. On the ensuine corner kick, Félix Torres hit a header on frame that Wacho had to make another diving attempt to stop. In the dying moments of stoppage before the end of the first half, Juan Brunetta unleashed a blast from deep that Wacho pushed up and over the bar. It was the last gasp in a relatively calm first half of play.

Chivas started the second half with a line change, swapping out three players. It didn’t work as intended. Félix Torres had a good look in the 47th minute off of a free kick, but sent his attempt just wide. A minute later Alan Cervantes hit an uncontested shot from the top of the box that Wacho Jiménez punched out. Santos kept the pressure up and were rewarded in the 55th minute when Santos made a break down field, resulting in a Harold Preciado shot from the right side. Wacho made a good save but gave up a long rebound right to Juan Brunetta, who got an easy tap-in from the left side.

Santos didn’t stop applying the pressure, but nothing really materialized at first. Chivas was largely chasing the game, unable to get much out of their possession despite the crowd dressed mostly in red cheering them on. Santos looked like they were going to have a decent opportunity in the 60th minute, but Wacho Jiménez came off of his line and did well go get to the ball moments before Preciado, who had to jump over the prone goalkeeper. In the 62nd minute Chivas finally had a decent look when Alexis Vega hit a header on frame, but despite bobbling the save, Gibrén Lajud stopped the ball and gathered up the rebound before any damage could be done. Vega had another chance in the 63rd minute but it was cleared off of the line by Félix Torres.

In the 64th minute Alan Cervantes hit a shot that looked like it could have been cleared out by the defender, but strangely he watched it go by, forcing Jiménez to make a diving stop. in the 71st minute a long ball in was contested by Jiménez and Preciado, with the goalkeeper just getting to the ball. A minute later Duván Vergara came down the pitch and hit a wicked shot that got past the diving Jiménez for the second goal of the evening for the hosts.

This seemed to wake Chivas up a bit, as the guests started to get some possession and pressure on their hosts. In the 79th minute Daniel Ríos went in on goal and clipped Gibrán Lajud when they both went for the ball. While the contact was minimal, it was enough for referee Oscar Mejía to award a penalty. After a lengthy VAR review, Mejía confirmed the penalty and Roberto “Piojo” Alvarado converted to draw Chivas within one.

Tempers started to flare after the goal, and players started minor scuffles after a couple of plays, with Alan Cervantes and Alexis Vega earning yellow cards for their troubles after some heated exchanges. Harold Preciado had a header on goal in the 85th minute that Wacho was easily able to stop. A minute later at the other end it was Yael Padilla putting a shot on frame, but Gibran Lajud read it the entire way and easily made the stop. Santos looked content to try and run out the clock when in possession, keeping the ball along the back line and passing laterally more of ten than vertically. A poor clearance in the second minute of stoppage time went right to Cervantes, who hit a shot on goal straight at Jiménez, who made the stop. Then as if to add insult to injury, Vega picked up a second yellow card when he didn’t get a call and threw the ball, sending Chivas down to ten players when they needed everything they had to try to salvage a draw. Javier Correa had a shot from distance in the sixth minute of stoppage that whistled high, but it missed and that was the last big play of the match.

Santos heads east to take on Tigres on Wednesday, August 30 before returning home to host Pumas on Saturday, September 2. Chivas meanwhile returns home to host Rayados on Sunday, September 3.

Santos Laguna: Gibrán Lajud; Ismael Govea, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Omar Campos; Alan Cervantes, Pedro Aquino (Aldo López, 76); Emerson Rodríguez (Jair González, 89’), Juan Brunetta, Duván Vergara (Diego Medina, 77’); Harold Preciado (Javier Correa, 88’)

Guadalajara: Miguel Jiménez; Alan Mozo, Gilberto Sepúlveda, Jesús Orozco Chiquete, Alejandro Mayorga (Cristian Calderón, 61’); Erick Gutiérrez (Víctor Guzmán, 61’), Fernando González (Alan Torres, 45’); Roberto Alvarado, Fernando Beltrán (Yael Padilla, 45’), Alexis Vega; Ricardo Marín (Daniel Ríos, 45’)

Scoring: Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (55’), Duván Vergara (71’); Guadalajara - Roberto Alvarado (83’ - penalty)

Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Duván Vergara (Yellow - 32’), Pedro Aquino (Yellow - 42’), Pablo Repetto (Yellow - 76’), Harold Preciado (Yellow - 80’). Juan Brunetta (Yellow - 80’), Alan Cervantes (Yellow - 85’); Guadalajara - Gilberto Sepúlveda (Yellow - 45’), Alan Torres (Yellow - 50’), Alexis Vega (Yellow - 85’, Red - 90+4’)