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MEXICO: Own goal gives Santos edge

12/3/2010

An acrobatic own goal by Duilio Davino has put Monterrey in a hole midway through its Mexican Primera Division championship home-and-home with Santos Laguna.

Davino, who was part of Mexico's 1998 World Cup team, lunged at Jose Maria Cardenas' cross in the 86th minute Thursday night, knocking the ball off the right post and into his net, giving Santos a 3-2 triumph in an absorbing first leg in the Apertura final.

Second-seeded Monterrey, which will be home for Sunday's title-decider, twice rallied from deficits and appeared in solid shape heading into the final five minutes of a 2-2 draw in Torreon. Davino's miscue -- designed to keep Cardenas' cross from reaching Christian Benitez -- means the Rayados must win by a goal to force overtime or two goals to claim a second successive Apertura crown.

Ivan Estrada was pivotal for third-seeded Santos, providing a 23rd-minute lead, then crossing for a Carlos Darwin Quintero header to put the Guerreros ahead, 2-1, just before halftime. Quintero has scored in each of the past three games.

Chilean World Cup standout Humberto Suazo's 13th goal of the campaign, from Aldo de Nigris' touch, pulled Monterrey even in the 38th minute, and Neri Cardozo made it 2-2 in the 55th after de Nigris stripped a defender just outside Santos' box.

TIJUANA ON THE VERGE: Mauro Gerk and Javier Gandolfi scored goals three minutes apart, and Club Tijuana is 90 minutes from the Liga de Ascenso's Apertura title following a 2-0 win at Veracruz.

Gerk tapped home Luis Orozco's feed in the 35th minute, and Gandolfi deflected in Jose Carlos Nuñez's free kick in the 38th for the Xoloitzcuintles, who can absorb a one-goal loss in Sunday's second leg at Estadio Caliente and still win the title.

The Xolos have posted four straight shutouts and 13 in 20 games, and they've conceded just twice at home while going 7-0-3.

Both teams finished with 10 men. Veracruz lost Damian Macaluso to a second yellow card in the 66th minute, and Nuñez exited in the 87th with his second yellow card.

The Apertura champion will face the Clausura winner next spring, with the victor gaining promotion to the Primera Division.