Santos Defeat Toluca, But We've Only Just Begun

Santos defeated Toluca 2-1 in the first leg of the Liga MX final thanks to goals from Djaniny and Julio Furch.

Santos Laguna defeated Toluca 2-1 in the first leg of the 2018 Liga MX Clausura Final thanks to strikes from Djaniny and Julio Furch, but Luis Quinones’ lone goal for Toluca makes for an incendiary second leg back at “La Bombonera” on Sunday. 

The only explanation for Santos’ play in the opening 10 minutes is that the significance of the occasion absolutely rocked them. The Estadio Corona was at a fever pitch, but Toluca stung the woodwork twice while Santos sprayed errant passes around the ground and reverted to a bit of cynicism to relieve the pressure.

15 minutes in, Toluca had enjoyed 54 percent of possession and attempted seven shots, but Santos showed signs of having weathered the storm. The home side even looked to have earned a penalty in the 24th minute, but the referee wasn’t interested. 

It’s one of those “anywhere else on the pitch it’s a foul” kind of non-calls. 

The final 20 minutes of the opening 45 passed without incident, but Santos continued to exert more pressure on the visitors. A second half breakthrough seemed a certainty.

But when it arrived, it arrived for Toluca. The visitors deserved one, and Luis Quinones delivered. The buildup between the goalscorer and Fernando Uribe was sensational, and the Colombian ultimately provided the assist with a deft bit of incision. 

But 18 minutes later, Santos answered through that man again, Djaniny. The Clausura leading scorer made no mistake with his finish, taking his first touch beyond Alfredo Talavera before cutting back towards goal and finishing with ease.

Santos continued to dominate the match, and the winner arrived in the 89th minute via Furch.

Ultimately that’s only halftime. The second leg is gonna be frantic. 

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