Both teams came into the series looking for the opening leg advantage. Pachuca, wanted to keep on their inspirational run with a home win at the Estadio Hidalgo. Free-scoring Santos Laguna looked to grab an away advantage at the Estadio Hidalgo.
It would be Pachuca, on the backs of goals by Diego de Buen and Hugo Rodriguez, who would grab the advantage on the opening leg, defeating Santos Laguna 2-0. Unlike their resounding 4-2 win at the Olimpico Universitario, Los Tuzos would get their goals from set pieces. Diego de Buen opened the scoring in the 43rd minute off of a free kick, in which the Pachuca midfielder dribbled a free kick from outside the 18, past the Santos Laguna wall, and past a surprised Oswaldo Sanchez to take the 1-0 lead. Hugo Rodriguez doubled the home side's lead in the 66th minute off of a corner kick that Santos Laguna fail to control inside the six-yard box.
Santos had only a few good opportunities on goal in a game that was largely dominated by Pachuca's possession. Oribe Peralta had a couple opportunities, including a first time opportunity in the 20th minute in which his shot rang the post, and an opportunity late in the second half in which he was released on a well-worked through-ball from the midfield. Unfortunately, on that opportunity, the assistant referee flagged the Mexico international for being offside at the time the pass was played.
If there is something Santos Laguna could take home from its match, it would be that they managed to prevent Enner Valencia from having a major influence in the match. But in Saturday's return leg, scheduled to take place at the Estadio Corona at 9 PM ET, Santos Laguna will need to avenge that 2-0 deficit (as well as continue to stop Enner Valencia). For Pachuca, it appears
--MAN OF THE MATCH--
Given the lack of flow throughout the match, it was hard to give a "Man of the Match." But Diego De Buen's work in the holding midfield to prevent Santos Laguna from building up their attacks, as well as create chances for Pachuca, could not be ignored. De Buen also happened to be rewarded with a beautiful free kick goal near the end of the first half that gave Los Tuzos the lead--and their advantage heading into the return leg.
--FOOL OF THE MATCH--
Center backs Rafael Figueroa and Oswaldo Pantoja both get Fool of the Match honors for their inability to control a 66th minute Santos Laguna corner kick. Without their poor communication on that play, Hugo Rodriguez may not have been able to double Pachuca's lead, and made Santos Laguna's work in the return leg t return to the CONCACAF Champions League (and Liguilla MX final) harder than it otherwise might have been. Both center backs' mistake took away from an otherwise good day in which they managed to close off the space afforded to Enner Valencia to attack.