Monarcas Morelia Vs. Santos Laguna, 2011 Apertura Liguilla: Morelia Get Home Win

Monarcas Morelia have an advantage heading to Estadio Corona, thanks to their 2-1 home win over Santos Laguna on Wednesday night. Santos will now have to win at home, and unlike the first leg, they won't simply progress with a one goal win. The seed tiebreaker does not apply after the first round, making life difficult on Santos.

The road side was without Felipe Baloy, their best central defender for this match. It showed early and often, but goalkeeper Osvaldo Sanchez did his best to soften that blow. Despite the fact that he let in two goals, Sanchez was arguably the man of the match as he made five saves, none of them coming easy. He made a couple of spectacular saves late in the first half, keeping Morelia from scoring the four or five goals their first half play deserved.

Morelia set the tone for the match with their first goal in the 13th minute, an absolute wonder strike by Jaime Lozano. From almost 40 yards out, on the left wing, Lozano unloaded a bullet into the top corner that was virtually unsaveable. Less than ten minutes later, Gerardo Lugo added a second goal with a fantastic header, nodding in a cross by Luis Sandoval.

It looked for a while as if Morelia was going to leave with a 2-0 win, but Mexican international striker Oribe Peralta got his team back into the tie late. Running onto a through ball by Carlos Ochoa, Peralta made a spectacular move to round keeper Federico Vilar and tap the ball into the back of the net in the 83rd minute, giving his team life heading back to Torreon.

Santos will probably be boosted by the return of Baloy in the second leg, but they'll still be short a defender. Osmar Mares picked up a second yellow card in the 87th minute and will be suspended for the second leg.

For more on the Liguilla playoffs and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican futbol blog FMF State Of Mind.

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