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Liga MX Wrap: Santos sail into Clausura semis

Santos Laguna recovered from conceding an early goal to thump Atlas 3-1 and advance to the Liga MX’s Clausura championship semi-finals.

Atlas had goalkeeper Miguel Pinto sent off in the 24th minute for handling the ball outside his penalty area and Santos Laguna made that count in the second half with Carlos Quintero scoring twice to clinch victory.

After the first leg of the quarter-final had finished scoreless, Sunday’s result ensured Santos Laguna moved into the final four of the Clausura, or closing, championship in Mexico.

Santos Laguna joined America, Monterrey and Cruz Azul in the semi-finals.

Atlas opened the scoring in controversial fashion at the Estadio Jalisco with Omar Bravo awarded a goal despite doubts the ball had completely crossed the line.

A fourth-minute corner was initially saved by visiting goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez but he could only palm the ball towards the back post.

Bravo reacted first although he did not make great contact with his shot and as the ball looped back towards Sanchez, who was sitting behind the goal-line, the Santos Laguna gloveman pushed the ball away but not before the goal was awarded.

Santos Laguna equalised in the 16th minute with Andres Renteria poking the ball home after Pinto had saved Maura Cejas’ initial shot.

Pinto was sent off eight minutes later but the hosts held on until the 62nd minute before Santos Laguna hit the front.

Renteria was released down the right channel and crossed to his fellow Colombian Quintero for a simple side-foot finish.

Quintero wrapped up victory on a fast break in the 90th minute to ensure the reigning champions stayed alive in the Clausura.

In the other game on Sunday, Morelia defeated Cruz Azul 1-0 but the latter advanced to the semi-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

In Saturday’s quarter-final second legs, America defeated Pumas UNAM 2-1 to triumph 3-1 on aggregate, while Monterrey drew 1-1 away to Tigres UANL to complete a 2-1 overall victory.

Mon 13 May, 2013
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