Monterrey advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League final after drawing 1-1 with Pumas UNAM in Mexico City Wednesday night, winning the two-leg tie by an aggregate score of 4-1. In this match, Monterrey opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a goal from Angel Reyna, who now has two goals in two games in the league and CCL for the Rayados. And Jose Antonio Garcia helped Pumas narrow the margin with a reflexive touch into goal off a short cross in the 72nd minute. Besides the two goals, this was a very flat match with little energy and very little urgency by Pumas, who were thoroughly outplayed over 180 minutes.
Both teams played weaker lineups in this match. Pumas rotated several players and played several very young players, essentially conceding the tie in favor of saving their key players for league matches to see if they can rise up the standings and snatch a playoff spot. On the flipside, Monterrey rested their star forwards, Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris , and played a mostly second team lineup on the night. Nonetheless, they controlled a match that they didn't need to win after delivering a dominant 3-0 victory int the first leg last week. And with Reyna finding form of late, it could bode well if Suazo or de Nigris are ineffective in the final. Heading into the final against Santos Laguna, Monterrey will be facing a team that is very much in form (as opposed to Pumas, who have not been), but considering their equally strong form and their experience in winning the CCL title just last year, they are certainly the favorites to win it again.
For Pumas, the semifinal run is a good accomplishment for a club that has not played well of late. The club is in the midst of retooling with several young players drawn from their strong academy program, and players like Javier Cortes, Emilio Orrantia, and Diego De Buen had the opportunity to get first team experience in the tournament. The expectation is that these players will develop into a strong core for Pumas in the next couple of years. But Monterrey were the stronger team over two legs, and they will seek to defend their CCL title against Santos in an all-Mexican final.