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Santos thrashes Club America in Clausura semifinal first leg

Santos players celebrate after scoring one of its four goals in a rout of Club America in the Clausura semifinals.

Santos Laguna totally outclassed Club America in a 4-1 win on Thursday and will take a healthy lead into the second leg of the teams’ 2018 Clausura semifinal on Sunday.

Osvaldo Martinez opened the scoring in the 15th minute and Julio Furch netted either side of half-time — the first a marvelous strike from 30 yards. Edwin Cetre completing the scoring for Santos, while America’s only goal came from Cecilio Dominguez in the 32nd.

Club America had gone into the semifinal series as favorites after finishing second in the Clausura regular season and sweeping past Pumas in the quarterfinals.

But Santos Laguna showed the same tenacity and intensity as they did in knocking out reigning champion Tigres in the quarterfinal.

Martinez struck from outside the box, but Dominguez took advantage from a positional error from Santos keeper Jonathan Orozco to equalize.

Furch put Santos back into the lead, but Club America came close to leveling again in the 42nd, when Mateus Uribe won a penalty. However, French forward Jeremy Menez stepped up and saw his weak effort to the left saved by Orozco.

In the second half, Santos Laguna dominated against a defensively weak America and will take a three-goal lead into the return leg at Estadio Azteca.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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