MEXICO: Monterrey holds off Pachuca, is favorite

November, 22, 2010
11/22/10
9:44
AM PT

Monterrey assumed the role as favorite in Mexico's Primera Division playoffs after holding off visiting Pachuca on Sunday in a wild quarterfinal second leg.

Humberto Suazo, Aldo de Nigris and Neri Cardozo scored goals, and the second-seeded Rayados settled for a 3-3 draw -- leaving aggregate at 4-4. Monterrey advanced as the higher seed to a semifinal showdown with Pumas UNAM.

Santos Laguna also reached the final four, outlasting Jaguares, 1-0, for a 2-1 aggregate triumph. The No. 3 seed was set for a series with America before Juan Pablo Rodriguez's penalty kick deep into second-half stoppage.

Monterrey, which is the highest remaining seed after No. 1 Cruz Azul's defeat Saturday against Pumas, won the Apertura title last fall and posted the best record in the spring Clausura earlier this year. Pachuca pulled the first round upset in May, twice beating the Rayados to reach the semifinals.

The Tuzos appeared finished after Monterrey jumped to a 3-1 lead after 57 minutes, but Faustino Arizala, who scored their goal in Thursday's 1-1 draw in Pachuca, finished off a headed hat trick with goals in the 84th and 89th minutes. Monterrey held on for four minutes of stoppage to advance.

Former Galaxy star Herculez Gomez set up the third of Arizala's goals.

Gomez, who joined Pachuca over the summer after scoring 10 goals last spring for Puebla, has been targeted by UANL Tigres, Spanish-language Web site Medio Tiempo reported. Club vice president Andres Fassi said he would be in contact with the Monterrey-area club about the Los Angeles-born forward, who is slated to play for the Tuzos in next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Dubai. Jonathan Bornstein (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS and UCLA) will join Tigres from Chivas USA in January.

LIGA DE ASCENSO: The last of the higher seeds in action during the second-tier Liga de Ascenso quarterfinals is out. Veracruz rode an early goal by Guillermo Rojas to oust fourth-seeded Lobos BUAP, a 1-0 road victory Sunday providing a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Second-seeded Indios de Ciudad Juarez and third-seeded Alacranes de Durango were eliminated Saturday. Top seed Club Tijuana received a bye into the semifinals and will begin its playoff trek Wednesday at Albinegros de Orizaba. The home leg is tentative scheduled for Saturday at Estadio Caliente.
  • PRIMERA DIVISION

QUARTERFINALS, SECOND LEG
Sunday
Monterrey 3 (Suazo 19, de Nigris 37, Cardozo 57), Pachuca 3 (Arizala 26, 84, 89)
Santos Laguna 1 (J. Rodriguez pen. 95+), Jaguares de Chiapas 0

SEMIFINALS, FIRST LEG
Wednesday
Santos Laguna at America, 5 p.m.

Thursday
Monterrey at Pumas UNAM, 7 p.m.

SEMIFINALS, SECOND LEG
Saturday
America at Santos Laguna, 4 p.m.

Sunday
Pumas UNAM at Monterrey, 2 p.m.
  • LIGA DE ASCENSO

QUARTERFINALS, SECOND LEG
Sunday
Lobos BUAP 0, Veracruz 1 (G. Rojas 12)

SEMIFINALS, FIRST LEG
Wednesday
Club Tijuana at Albinegros de Orizaba, time TBA

Thursday
Veracruz at Irapuato, time TBA

SEMIFINALS, SECOND LEG
Saturday
Albinegros de Orizaba at Club Tijuana, time TBA

Sunday
Irapuato at Veracruz, time TBA

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