Giovani Dos Santos had been waiting for weeks for an opportunity to show that he deserves to remain in America. Due to the absences of two starters, he received it on Saturday and didn't waste it. Dos Santos converted the goal with which Las Águilas rose from the canvas to thread their sixth consecutive victory by beating Necaxa 2-1. Martín Barragán put the Rayos ahead in the 40th minute, Paraguayan Richard Sánchez leveled with a free kick in the 46th minute and then charged a foul to give a pass to Dos Santos, who scored the winning goal in the 59th minute.
"He scored a goal that defined the game and he did it from the head. I don't remember him many goals from the head and it makes me happy because he has worked well", said Argentine coach Santiago Solari. "He had missed a few weeks due to a concussion, but he strives to serve the team and today he came in because he deserved it and he had to define the game," he emphasized.
Gio, who ends his contract with América at the end of the tournament, had six days without playing a single minute, but the injuries of Henry Martín and Sebastián Córdova opened the door to his third start in the tournament, the first since date three. It was the first goal for the former Barcelona player since September last year. With the eighth win in their last nine meetings, America has 31 points and remains second in the standings behind leader Cruz Azul.
Las Águilas, who have already tied at least their ticket to Liguilla, will keep that position no matter what happens in the rest of the games for the 13th date. “Necaxa has a new coach and they had been preparing for this game for two weeks, so we knew it was going to be difficult and it was. They put themselves ahead, but we knew how to turn it around, that's why I'm satisfied, "added Solari, who's in his first tournament in the country. "There're no simple games (in Mexico), it is difficult to add each victory, so I am happy and satisfied with the effort and humility of the team".
America had not surpassed Necaxa since the Clausura 2017 tournament, a seven-game streak. The Rays remain with 10 points in the penultimate position. Despite their precarious situation, the Rayos retain slim chances of advancing to the league.
"As long as there is opportunity, we are going to fight, today was a difficult game, but the team tried," said Necaxa coach Guillermo Vázquez. “The players have made a great effort. In the next game we can do the same or better and add to try to get in".
The Rayos took the lead when Salas entered the area on the left side and sent a lateral pass for Barragán, who converted into the small area. So he took advantage of the fact that Ochoa went out to shrink Salas's space. When the first half expired, Sánchez took a free kick that went over the barrier and entered the left side of the goal defended by Hernández.
America took the lead on a stopped ball play. Sánchez executed towards Dos Santos, who beat a defender in the jump and connected with a header that entered close to the right post.