Santos Laguna earned a 1-3 away win against Toluca in the second leg of their quarterfinal series, but even that was not enough to overturn their first-leg deficit as Toluca won the series 5-4 on aggregate.
Santos had a lot of ground to make up, needing a minimum of four goals to advance, but they came out looking to make a game of it. Alfredo Talavera made a pair of good saves to keep them from taking the lead early on, but he couldn’t keep out his own teammate in the 20th minute.
Santos sent in a corner kick, and Enrique Triverio’s attempted clearance ended up in his own net as he headed the ball inadvertently past Talavera to make it 0-1 (4-2) for the visitors.
Toluca rallied and tied the game before halftime, with Rubens Sambueza sending in a cross for Antonio Ríos to finish off in the 41st minute, making it 1-1 and extending Toluca’s aggregate lead to 5-2.
But just three minutes later, Santos scored again to retake the lead on the night. Another corner kick proved deadly for the Laguneros, with Ulises Rivas redirecting a header from Julio César Furch to make it 1-2 (5-3) in the 44th minute.
Santos continued to press in the second half and in the 60th minute another set piece gave them another goal. Osvaldo Martínez sent a free kick into the box; Talavera made the initial save, but gave up a rebound, which fell nicely for Furch to stab home.
With the score now 1-3 (5-4), Toluca’s seemingly insurmountable first-leg lead was beginning to look decidedly fragile.
Santos continued to pour numbers forward while Toluca looked for their own chances on the counterattack. Talavera proved invaluable once again as he made several saves, including an impressive one on a long-range shot from Jonathan Rodríguez in the 72nd minute, to keep the Diablos ahead on aggregate.
Santos fought to the final whistle, creating chances even in stoppage time – although Antonio Ríos was there to clear Furch’s last-minute attempt off the line, and Toluca ultimately managed to hold on to the aggregate lead.
With the 1-3 loss (5-4 aggregate win), Toluca advances to the semifinals while Santos is eliminated.
Toluca: Alfredo Talavera, Efraín Velarde, Aarón Galindo, Paulo da Silva, Rodrigo Salinas, Antonio Ríos, Rubens Sambueza, Pablo Barrientos (Fernando Uribe 65′), Erbín Trejo (Jordan Silva 75′), Gabriel Hauche (Jesús Méndez 60′), Enrique Triverio.
Santos: Jonathan Orozco, Néstor Araujo, Carlos Izquierdoz, Jorge Sánchez, Walter Gael Sandoval, Osvaldo Martínez, Ulises Rivas (Diego de Buen 78′), Gerardo Arteaga (Emiliano Armenteros 85′), Julio César Furch, Jonathan Rodríguez, Djaniny Tavares.