Although Puebla got an exciting penalty shootout victory over Chivas to go through to the liguilla quarterfinals, a few controversial decisions from referee Luis Enrique Santander could’ve broken the internet if Chivas had come out victorious.
The Santander-Chivas history
The words "Santander" and "Chivas" have been interrelated for quite some time now.
After the Mexican referee failed to call a clear last-minute penalty against Chivas in the 2017 Liga MX final against Tigres, it gave many a reason to believe that Santander had chosen to "help" the rojiblancos to victory.
Now, five years later, he’s still handing out reasons to believe he’s an undercover Chivahermano.
Did Santander continue his "pro-Chiva agenda?"
Santander was the head referee in the last playoff game of the weekend, Sunday's match between eighth-place Puebla and ninth-place Chivas.
Though, as shown, people were skeptical about his assignment considering his controversial performances while refereeing the rojiblancos, and everything that people feared for, in this case, came to fruition.
Act I: Milimetrically offside?
The first controversial call was a disallowed goal in the 21st minute.
Jordi Cortizo was denied the first goal of the game after a very tight (and I mean tight) offside from Maxi Araújo.
It’s not the best aerial shot, but Araújo’s shoulder does look a bit ahead of Sánchez’s. The decision could’ve definitely gone either way, though.
Act II: Double dribble in the box
The second, and perhaps most talked about, play came just five minutes later.
A dangerous cross into the box by Puebla’s Araújo was followed by an interception, deflection and clear handball by Chivas’ Tiba Sepúlveda.
Although the hand’s contact with the ball was clear, was it enough to be able to call a penalty? Not for Santander.
Act III: Forearm to the dome
The third and last play happened after Puebla had taken the lead in the second half.
A long ball into space left Araújo (again) running freely to Chivas’ goal when a Sepúlveda tackle (again) stopped Puebla’s defender.
Clear contact with the ball, yes, but the contact with his forearm hitting Araújo in the face should’ve probably been enough to call a penalty.
At the end of the day, and in Santander’s luck, Puebla went through and Chivas is once again out of the eight-team battle for the league title.
The scenes if Chivas had gone through, though…