MEXICO: No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the title
May, 14, 2012
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Santos Laguna needed a late miracle to reach the Mexican Primera Division's title series. Monterrey required only a little home cooking.
They'll face off this week in the home-and-home Clausura final, the first time the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds have reached the championship matches since 2000.
Top-seeded Santos got two late goals from Oribe Peralta to overcome UANL Tigres, winner of the fall Apertura title. Sunday's 2-2 draw in Torreon left aggregate at 3-3, and the Guerreros advanced with the better regular-season's finish.
Monterrey, seeking its third Mexican title in seven seasons, beat visiting America, 2-0, Saturday on goals by Jose Maria Basanta and Aldo de Nigris. The first leg, Wednesday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, was scoreless.
The title series is a rematch of last month's CONCACAF Champions League final, which Monterrey captured on 3-2 aggregate for its second straight confederation title.
Santos is making its fourth appearance in a final in five seasons but is seeking its first title since the 2008 Clausura, eight campaigns ago. Monterrey beat Santos in the 2010 Apertura final.
Peralta's goals answered two in the first half by Hector Mancilla for Tigres, which was looking to set up a first title-series showdown with Clasio Regiomontano archrival Monterrey.
The schedule for the title series has not been announced, but the first leg in Monterrey likely will be played Wednesday or Saturday, with the second leg next Saturday or Sunday in Torreon.
LIGA WINNER: Leon will be joining the Primera Division next season after routing UAT Correcaminos, 6-2, in the second-tier Liga de Ascenso promotion final.
Hernan Burbano scored two goals and set up a third as the Esmeraldas, winner of the Liga's spring Clausura, romped to a 5-0 home win in Saturday's second leg. Correcaminos, the fall Apertura winner from Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas, won the first leg, 2-1.
Leon scored the final six goals in the series, trimming the deficit in the first game on Juan Gonzalez's final-minute header.