This season’s fairly tale story Atlas came to a crashing halt with a 1-3 loss to Santos Laguna. Santos will now face Mexico City’s Cruz Azul in this season’s semifinals after the Azuls survived their trip to Morelia. Cruz Azul ended with a 1-0 loss in the game, but managed to advance on a 4-3 aggregate score.
Atlas was living a fairy tale season and looked to continue it at home against Santos. After a scoreless draw in the first the place in the semifinals where up for grabs. Atlas got off to a hopeful start; Omar Bravo gave the home side the lead after only five minutes of play.
Yair Renteria would tie the game for Santos in the 15th minute after a lovely through ball by Carlos Darwin Quintero and a defensive misshape. The away goal now forced Atlas to win the game in order to advance. The draw now gave the Laguneros the edge based on away goals.
The gane changing incident came in the 24th minute when Atlas goalkeeper Miguel Pinot was ejected from the game after committing a handball outside of his penalty area and cutting down a dangerous Santos advance. Alan Lopez made his professional debut in the Atlas goal.
Santos managed the ball and the score. Carlos Darwin Quintero sealed the win for Santos with goals in the 62nd and 89th minutes to make the score 1-3.
Santos’ next opponent Cruz Azul reached the semifinals by barely surviving their trip to Morelia. Cruz Azul had a 4-2 win in the first leg and looked to manage the score in the second game. Morelia came out strong looking for the first of two goals needed, but in their push forward left plenty of spaces in their defensive end.
Cruz Azul’s Mariano Pavone had several opportunities to give his side the lead but was not able to take his chances. Pavone would have to be replaced in the first half after injuring his hamstring in one of his many misses of the night.
Right before half time Rodrigo Salinas hit a long shot from outside of the box that found the back of the net. Morelia would have an entire half to look for one goal that would put them through to the semifinals.
Cruz Azul was not able to create much danger in the second half and dedicated themselves to hold on to their narrow lead. Morelia had several chances that they could not take. Cruz Azul barely held on to the lead achieved at home in the first leg to advance to the semifinals.