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Match recap: Pachuca 3, Santos Laguna 2

A wild one sees Pachuca hang on to down a short-handed Santos 3-2.

Miguel Rodriguez of Pachuca fights for the ball with Emerson Rodriguez of Santos during the 8th round match between Pachuca and Santos Laguna as part of the Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX at Hidalgo Stadium on September 18, 2023 in Pachuca, Mexico. Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

Just when you think a match is set, it can all go sideways when you least expect it - especially in Liga MX. After a VAR review nullified what would have been a tying goal, Pachuca looked to have iced the match in stoppage, but a Santos goal got them back within striking distance late. And despite going down a player, Santos nearly pulled it out but Tuzos held firm for just their second win all season.

Pachuca wasted precious little time getting to work, coming down the field and winning a corner kick in the first minute that wound up just going wide of the near post. The match quickly evened out, with both teams trying to make runs but not getting much of anything on any attempts. Santos started getting more of the possession, however shots were largely low-percentage shots from distance. At the other end, Marino Hinestroza made a nice cut in toward the center of the pitch at the top of the box and unleashed a shot that missed by inches.

Santos had a good chance in the 20th minute when Harold Preciado got a shot off near the top of the box but Carlos Moreno read it perfectly and made the save look easy. Three minutes later Hinestroza made another cut across the top of the box, this time holding on to it longer before shooting but Gibran Lajud made the diving stop to keep the match even.

Pachuca had a good look off of a free kick in the 38th minute that Lajud punched straight up into the air. Santos took the ball down to the opposite end of the field thanks to a wide open Emerson Rodríguez, however despite putting the defender on skates and getting him tied up with goalkeeper Carlos Moreno, Rodríguez’ chip shot went up and over the top of the bar. Then with the match seemingly heading to the halftime break scoreless, Hinestroza was left all alone on the Santos right flank and capitalized on a poor clearance attempt. Hinestroza made the defenders miss and unleashed a shot that went in after striking the crossbar and far post.

During the half, Pachuca unveiled their newest player Oussama Idrissi, who had been on loan with Feyenoord and has represented Morocco on the international level. Idrissi had to be impressed with what he saw from his new teammates, who started the second half flying. It was Santos however who was able to capitalize however when Juan Brunetta took advantage of a turnover in the 55th minute and smashed a shot from a tight angle into the back of the net to draw the sides level.

Pachuca looked to have a good opportunity in the 66th minute on a Hinestroza break away, but the eventual shot from Roberto de la Rosa went well high and wide of the intended mark. Two minutes later they’d regain the lead on a Bryan González goal that was the result of a great ball in from de la Rosa.

Eight minutes Santos won a corner kick and Marcelo Correa was left completely unmarked on a run, heading the ball in past Moreno. There was a lengthy VAR review however, and the goal was overturned when it was ruled the ball hit off of Correa’s arm.

Pachuca iced the match in stoppage when a great ball forward found a wide open Jesús Hernández, who smoked one past Lajud, doubling the amount of goals Pachuca had themselves scored all season in one single game.

Santos drew one back in the 94th minute however when Félix Torres was left alone in the box and guided one in past Moreno.

Deep in stoppage Javier Correa picked up a yellow card, but upon a VAR review he was shown a red card and Santos was down to ten players. Santos tried valiantly to find the equalizer, but Tuzos was able to hold on. Pachuca heads to Guadalajara to face off against Chivas on Saturday, September 23 while Santos returns to Torreón to host Necaxa on Sunday, September 24.

Pachuca: Carlos Moreno; Byron Castillo, Gustavo Cabral, Sergio Barreto, Miguel Rodríguez; Celso Ortíz; Bryan González (Owen González, 71’), Erick Sánchez (Jahaziel Marchand, 71’), Elías Montiel (Jesús Hernández, 88’), Marino Hinestroza (Jorge Berlanga, 81’); Roberto de la Rosa (Illian Hernández, 71’)

Santos Laguna: Gibran Lajud; Ismael Govea, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória (Roni Prieto, 90’), Omar Campos; Alan Cervantes, Aldo López (Javier Correa, 75’); Emerson Rodríguez (Santiago Muñoz, 90’), Juan Brunetta, Duván Vergara (Diego Medina, 61’); Harold Preciado

Scoring: Pachuca - Marino Hinestroza (45+1’), Bryan González (68’), Illian Hernández (90+1’); Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (55’), Félix Torres (90+4’)

Disciplinary: Pachuca - Miguel Rodríguez (Yellow - 13’), Marino Hinestroza (Yellow - 20’), Guillermo Almada (Yellow - 72’); Santos Laguna - Matheus Dória (Yellow - 16’), Harold Preciado (Yellow - 80’), Javier Correa (Red - 90+7’)