Monarcas Morelia put in a fantastic performance on Sunday night, defeating Cruz Azul 3-0 to advance to the 2011 Clausura Liguilla final by an aggregate score of 3-2, but their performance and place in the final was overshadowed by a huge fight at the end of the game for which, at current count, six red cards were shown.
Rafael Marquez Lugo scored a quick brace in the first half, netting in the 8th and 10th minutes, locking up the tie at 2-2 on aggregate, a score which would have seen Morelia through to the final on the seeding tiebreaker if it held. The first goal was a great header on a corner kick, and the second was a chipped finish as he caught the Cruz Azul defense napping.
Cruz Azul brought on Javier Orozco in the 37th minute as the pushed for a goal and they committed numbers forward for the remainder of the match, but were unable to create a goal. They got caught out by the Monarcas counter-attack in the 88th minute, as Jaime Lozano scored to seal the deal.
The match ended in a massive brawl, and at current count, six red cards were shown. Manager Tomas Boy, assistant Sergio Martin, and striker Miguel Sabah were sent off for Morelia. Striker Isaac Romo, midfielder Christian Gimenez, and defender Julio Dominguez were sent off for Cruz Azul. Jesus Corona, the Cruz Azul goalkeeper, somehow avoided red for his actions, but he will almost certainly be retroactively suspended.
During the brawl, Gimenez punched a fan who entered the pitch, Martin slapped Waldo Ponce, and Corona retaliated by kicking, then headbutting Martin. The others were sent off for less severe and obvious infractions during the massive fight.
Morelia will be affected by the suspensions of two coaches, including their manager, and Sabah going into the final, but their fans will still be absolutely delighted to see them with a chance to win the 2011 Clausura against Pumas UNAM.
For more on Mexican football and the 2011 Clausura Liguilla, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog, FMF State Of Mind.