UANL Tigres Vs. Santos Laguna, 2011 Apertura Liguilla Final: Tigres Win 3-1, 4-1 On Aggregate

It's a great day to be an UNAL Tigres fan. Their club are Liguilla champions after beating Santos Laguna 4-1 on aggregate (they won the first leg 1-0), snapping a title drought that had spanned almost three decades in the process. The result was fully deserved after a series of fantastic performances  - they didn't even concede a goal in the tournament until the 30th minute of this match - and on the day they were clearly better than their opponents.

The fact that Tigres had the man advantage for almost the entire game helped, of course, with Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez dismissed only a few minutes after kickoff for a reckless lunge on Danilinho, but the hosts wouldn't have been counting on a surreal first half that saw substitute Miguel Baccera save a spot kick and Lucas Lobos have a goal disallowed for kicking Osmar Mares in the back of the head. They certainly wouldn't have been expecting to go into the interval 1-0 down, but Santos did extremely well to fashion an opportunity, with Jose Maria Cardenas and Oribe Peralta combining to give the visitors an unlikely lead.

It looked as though Santos Claus could be coming to town for the away supporters, but order reasserted itself in the second half and Tigres, who were looking excellent despite being a goal down, were finally able to convert their dominance into goals. Hector Mancilla got them level on the night and back ahead on aggregate with a header just after the break, and from that point all resistance collapsed. Danilinho sealed the deal shortly after the hour mark, and substitutes Alan Pulido put the cherry atop the cake with a last minute strike to make it 4-1.

In the interim, the game had continued to be a bit odd - a miniature fracas broke out midway through the half that ended up with both Santos captain Felipe Baloy and Tigres defender Israel Jiminez sent off - but without the threat of a completely unexpected Santos win, it was far less entertaining than the first period. Congratulations to Tigres on their championship, and well done to the losers for making things far more interesting than they had any right to be. It would have been fun to see 180 minutes of football without all of those sendings-off and suspensions, but it would be silly to claim that Tigres's win wasn't deserved.

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