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Last minute goal gives Chivas tie against Santos in season opener

A goal in the last minute gave Chivas the 1-1 tie against Santos in their first match of the Clausura 2024.

Chivas v Santos Laguna - Torneo Clausura 2024 Liga MX Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images

Chivas got a last minute goal to rescue a 1-1 tie against Santos in their Clausura 2024 opener. New coach Fernando Gago was able to start his tenure with a point in a match in which Chivas had been the better team, but were very close to losing. Chivas will now have to travel for a tough away match against Tigres while Santos head home to take on the other Monterrey side in Rayados.

The first half under Gago started with the return of Jose Juan Macias to the starting 11. A cross into the area would just be out of reach of Pavel Perez, who would have had a close range header had he reached it. After being left alone in the area, Jesus Sanchez had a great opportunity, but his right footed shot went wide. Chivas had complete control of the possession, but weren’t able to break through. After getting the ball in the area, Macias had a great chance, but Santos’ goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo blocked his shot from close range in a great save.

Off a counter, Duvan Vergara got time and space to get off a right-footed shot, but Chivas’ goalkeeper Raul Rangel made a good save. In injury time, Perez started a counter and the ball was cleared into the path of Roberto Alvarado, who got dropped in the area by a tackle and the ref gave a penalty. Victor Guzman was set to take the PK, but after a review by VAR, the play was reversed because Alvarado was offside. It was the last true chance and although Chivas had been the better team, they had little to show for it.

The second half started with Chivas subbing out Jesus Sanchez for Alan Mozo. After a cross into the area was headed by Harold Preciado, Jesus Orozco blocked it with his arm and a PK was given. Preciado stepped up to take the PK, but his right-footed shot went wide in a bad miss. Guzman later got a chance from outside the area, but his attempt went wide. Then, after a good cross into the area, Harold Preciado made up for his missed PK by getting off a left-footed shot that went past Rangel to score and give Santos the 1-0 lead. After Chivas had been the better team for most of the match, it was Santos who struck first.

In response, Vergara got off a great right-footed shot that forced Rangel to make a great save. A cross into the area almost turned to a dangerous chance, but Santos defense would clear the ball before it fell to Macias. Unfortunately, in that play, Acevedo looked to have injured himself which was troubling after his 2023 was also filled with injures, to the point it might have him out of the National Team. Acevedo would be subbed out for Hector Holguin. After a good cross, Macias almost scored, but his backheel shot was cleared by Santos defense. The visitors then subbed out Duvan Vergara and Franco Fagundez for Jair Gonzalez and Santiago Muñoz. Chivas subbed out Fernando Beltran and Mateo Chavez for Gael Garcia and Antonio Briseño.

A great cross from Erick Gutierrez found Perez, but instead of heading in a shot, he tried to head a pass to Macias and it went wide. Off a corner kick, Santos defense would clear the ball right to Gael Garcia, who would then get off a right-footed shot past Holguin. Replays would show however, that Garcia had helped himself with his hand before getting the shot and the goal was called off. Then, in the final minute, a cross into the area was headed by Briseño into the path of Erick Gutierrez, who headed the ball past Holguin to score and give Chivas the 1-1 tie. It was the final play of the match as Gutierrez had “saved” Chivas and Gago in his debut.

Chivas were the better team in their debut, but came real close to starting with a bad loss. Losing at home and against a team they outplayed for large stretches of the match would have been a terrible result. Chivas did look somewhat dangerous, especially Macias in what appears to be an upgrade over their crop of forwards. Still, Chivas need to improve on the defensive side. The positive news is that they played well and look promising, but will have a very tough task next Saturday when they travel to face Tigres. Santos didn’t have the best offseason, but showed they still have some weapons despite getting lucky to have walked away with a tie. It’s a good result for them as they go through with their post-Brunetta era. They’ll have a tough home match for their opener as they face Monterrey.