Santos needed a win to control their destiny to grab a repechaje berth in the final week of the season. They only managed to grab a draw, keeping their hopes alive but leaving them severely damaged.
Santos got the first shot of the game in the second minute on a David Andrade blast off of a corner kick. While it was a good shot, it was read all the way by Rodolfo Cota and easily stopped. Although it was a fairly routine stop, Cota needed a minute after the stop to collect himself. Play continued, with Santos looking well in possession. Santos had a decent chance in the 12th minute when Leo Suárez played a ball in to Harold Preciado, who was all alone in the box, but it was just out of reach of Preciado’s foot and went out for a goal kick.IN the 18th minute Suárez hit a corner kick that found the Head of Matheus Dória, but it was directed at Cota for an easy save.
León had their first good chance in the 21st when after some very patient play they were able to spring Ángel Mena past the defense with a ball over the top, but Mena’s header was met with a brilliant save from Carlos Acevedo to push it wide. The majority of the play in the half was in the center part of the pitch, with the midfields locking horns in an attempt to try and find a through ball that often simply wasn’t there. Santos did find one such opportunity in the 40th, playing Preciado in but Cota made a good save to keep the ball out. In the 44th Brian Lozano had a crack from distance but Cota read it well and punched it out of danger. Although Santos had the better half, both teams went into the locker in a scoreless tie.
León had a great chance just 20 seconds into the second half when Ángel Mena came down and blasted a shot that was just off frame. Then at the other end Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre hit a shot that Cota stopped. The rebound fell to Brian Lozano, who also tried his luck on goal by was again stopped by Cota. The rebound fell to Leo Suárez but his shot went just wide of the net. León looked like they scored in the 50th minute but Mena was ruled to have been played into an offside position. Replays showed it was very close, and a VAR review overturned the call, awarding Mena the goal.
The lead wouldn’t last long however. In the 56th minute David Andrade floated a cross into the box and Eduardo “Mudo” Aguirre went up and headed it in past Cota to draw Santos level.
Santos needed a second goal and went about trying to find it. In the 59th Brian Lozano hit a shot that whistled just outside of the post. Santos continued to pressure León, denying them time and space on the ball. In the 62nd, Lozano hit another shot from distance that Cota had to punch up and out of play. Diego Medina was able to hit a shot off of the resulting corner kick, but it went over the crossbar.
Mena went for a second in the 74th, but an excellent sliding tackle from Dória absorbed the shot and neutralized the danger. In the 77th Santos had a great opportunity when Jordan Carrillo found Preciado open in the box, but Preciado mis-hit his shot and it bounced well over the crossbar. Santos did well to break down the León defense, but their final shots never quite materialized. Dória had a good free kick that Cota punched up and caught in the 89th minute. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Preciado fired a ball into the box that Mudo Aguirre headed, but it went just wide of the net. In the sixth minute of stoppage, Cota stopped a Jordan Carrillo shot and went to grab it, but Dória knocked it out of his hands before he had possession. It was partially cleared out of the way, and a resulting shot hit off of a Santos player and went out of bounds. In the tenth minute Mena had a chance to double the lead but his shot went just wide and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Santos heads to San Luis Potosí to face Atlético de San Luis on Sunday, May 1 while León returns home to host Toluca in the final match of the regular season, also on Sunday, May 1.
Santos Laguna: Carlos Acevedo; Carlos Orrantia (Beto Ocejo, 79’), Hugo Rodríguez, Matheus Dória, David Andrade (Andrés Ávila, 90’); Brian Lozano (Ulíses Rívas, 79’), Alan Cervantes (Jordan Carrillo, 58’), Fernando Gorriarán, Leo Suárez (Diego Medina, 58’); Eduardo Aguirre, Harold Preciado
León: Rodolfo Cota; Osvaldo Rodríguez (Pedro Hernández, , Andrés Mosquera, Stiven Barreiro, David Ramírez; Omar Fernández (Elías Hernández, 70’), Luis Montes, Fidel Ambríz (Santiago Colombatto, 84’), Ángel Mena; Jean Menenses; Federico Martínez (Santiago Ormeño, 84’)
Scoring: Santos Laguna – Eduardo Aguirre (56’); León – Ángel Mena (52’)
Disciplinary: Santos Laguna – Alan Cervantes (Yellow – 31’), Eduardo Fentanes (Yellow – 58’); León – Federico Martínez (Yellow – 7’), Stiven Barreiro (Yellow – 46’)