The best possible way to get over a tough road loss is to come back home and get a win over a strong team. Two days prior to the 40th anniversary of the club Santos did just that, downing Pumas 2-1 in Torreón before heading out on the international break. The win may have come at a cost however, as Santos saw two players come off in the first half with injuries.
The opening minutes of the match were fairly uneventful, with both teams looking to establish a physical presence early. Santos had the better of the possession, but couldn't' do much of anything with it. Santos had the first good chance of the game at the 10 minute mark when Alan Cervantes put his head into a great cross in from the left flank, forcing Julio González to make a diving save. In the 12th minute, a poor foul was conceded deep in the Pumas end, and Juan Brunetta stepped up and hit a free kick that may have glanced off of the head of Gabriel “Toro” Fernández before going in to give Santos the lead.
¡Gol de #Santos! Un centro envenenado en el área universitaria terminó yéndose al fondo con ayuda del 'Toro' Fernández.— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) September 3, 2023
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Santos wasted no time trying to get another. In the 16th minute, Alan Cervantes made a great move along the right side to lose his mark and hit a cross into the box that Harold Preciado headed wide. Pumas had a decent enough look in the 20th minute when José Caicedo tried his luck from distance, but his shot went well wide of the mark. In the 26th, a defensive error by Pumas allowed Harold Preciado to get in on goal, but he mis-hit his shot and it was easily saved by González. In the 31st, Pablo Monroy hit a rocket on frame that Gibrán Lajud did well to parry. On the same play, Duván Vergara went down and motioned that he needed to come off. He was able to leave the pitch under his own power, with Diego Medina taking his place. Vergara was then seen having his right thigh being wrapped and tended to on the bench. Pumas then sprang Fernández on a counterattack, and Toro made up for his mistake by torching the defense and hitting a goal against the grain and past Lajud to equalize the match.
¡Gol del 'Toro' Fernández! SE SACÓ LA ESPINA. El delantero universitario que había hecho el gol en propia puerta es quien empata el partido.— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) September 3, 2023
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After the goal, Pedro Aquino had to be carted off of the field, and replays showed him pulling up on a run prior to the goal. Despite having used two subs before the end of the first 40 minutes, Santos came right down the field and tried to re-gain the lead, with Harold Preciado finishing the counterattack with a strong sot that Fernández did well to stop. In stoppage time however Brunetta fed Emerson Rodríguez, who then slotted a great ball in through traffic to Preciado, who back-heeled the ball in at full speed.
¡Gol de Santos! Harold Preciado culminó un contragolpe de libro de los 'Guerreros' que se marcharán al descanso con la ventaja.— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) September 3, 2023
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Santos kept up the offensive threat in the second half. In the 54th minute Diego Medina made a nice move to shake the defender and fired a shot, however it hit the side netting. Brunetta fired a shot straight on goal in the 57th, but Fernández saw it the entire way. Matheus Dória had a look on a set piece, but his header went wide of the mark.
Pumas had their opportunities too. In the 71st minute, a header forced Gibrán Lajud to make a save. On the resulting corner kick, a header hit the post and then Christian Tabó made a run into the box and smashed a shot off of the crossbar. Then at the other end a defensive mistake left the ball in the path of an oncoming Javier Correa, but his shot also hit off of the post. A minute later Correa had another look at goal, but his shot sailed high and into the crowd.
The final few minutes were a flurry of chances for both teams, with Pumas desperately trying to get the tie and Santos looking to put it out of reach. In the end though the 2-1 score stood, with Santos getting three critical points and putting a dispiriting loss to Tigres behind them.
After the international break, Santos heads to Pachuca to take on Tuzos on Monday, September 18 while Pumas will be at home hosting Atlético San Luis on Sunday, September 17.
Santos Laguna: Gibrán Lajud; Omar Campos, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Ismael Govea (Raúl López, 76’); Alan Cervantes, Pedro Aquino (Aldo López, 36’); Duván Vergara (Diego Medina, 31’), Juan Brunetta, Emerson Rodríguez; Harold Preciado (Javier Correa, 76’)
UNAM Pumas: Julio González; Pablo Monroy (Ricardo Galindo, 81’), Pablo Bennevendo, Nathan Da Silva, Lisandro Magallán; José Caicedo (Santiago Trigos, 81’), Ulíses Rivas (Rodrigo López, 62’), Carlos Gutiérrez (Christian Tabó, 62’), César Huerta; Juan Dinenno (Gustavo de Prete, 62’), Gabriel Fernández
Scoring: Santos Laguna - Juan Brunetta (13’), Harold Preciado (45+2’); UNAM Pumas - Gabriel Fernández (34’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna - Harold Preciado (Yellow - 50’), Aldo López (Yellow - 63’), Diego Medina (Yellow - 72’), Emerson Rodríguez (Yellow - 85’), Omar Campos (Yellow - 90+3’); UNAM Pumas - José Caicedo (Yellow - 42’), Lisandro Magallán (Yellow - 58’), Nathan Da Silva (Yellow - 89’)