There are only 45 minutes gone from 180 minutes in the Mexican Primera's 2011 Apertura Liguilla Final, but this one appears to be very close to over. It's going to take a miracle for Santos Laguna to get back into this match, as they've already had a man sent off and given up a goal to UANL Tigres, who lead 1-0 at halftime. Damian Alvarez scored the goal, and it was an absolute beauty.
In the 7th minute, Hector Raul Mancilla laid off a ball for Alvarez, who dribbled through the defense and broke the ankles of Jorge Estrada with his moves. Eventually, he got himself into a position to shoot from a narrow angle and put a shot past Oswaldo Sanchez to put his team ahead.
Oribe Peralta almost got one back for the Saints in the 15th minute, rattling the crossbar with an absolutely stunning shot from 25 yards. That would be the Saints' best chance for a while, and they were a bit lucky not to allow another. Sanchez was forced into a spectacular save in the 22nd minute, parrying away a great free kick by Lucas Lobos.
Less than a minute after that, Juan Pablo Rodriguez got himself sent off for a terrible foul on Manuel Viniegra. While going for a ball around Viniegra's waste level, he missed the follow through and delivered a swift kick to the groin of Viniegra with his studs, giving the referee no choice but to show a red card.
Santos surprisingly looked decent with ten men, with Darwin Quintero missing a golden opportunity to pull his team level just before the halftime whistle, but were unable to find a goal. With ten men against Mexico's top defense, Santos are going to need Peralta and Quintero to pull a goal or two out of nothing to keep this tie alive heading to Monterrey.
For more on the Liguilla final and Mexican football in general, check out SB Nation's Mexican futbol blog FMF State Of Mind.