Santos Laguna, Monterrey Advance To Mexican Liguilla Final

COAHUILA, MEXICO - MARCH 14: Hurculez Gomez of Santos Laguna celebrates a goal with his teammates during a match against the Seattle Sounders as part of the CONCACAF Champions League at Estadio Corona on March 14, 2012 in Coahuila, Mexico. (Photo by Hans Maximo Musielik/Getty Images)

Monterrey and Santos Laguna will play a rematch of the CONCACAF Champions League final domestically in Liguilla.

Monterrey comfortably cruised past Club America 2-0 to make yet another Liguilla final, but the other semifinal tie in the 2012 Clausura's playoffs was a completely different story. After they grabbed a 0-0 draw in Monterrey, Santos Laguna were clear favorites to advance over UANL Tigres. In the second leg, they stunningly went down 2-0 in the first half, and for the first 85 minutes of the second leg, Tigres were superb.

Then, the final five minutes happened. The Primera's defending champions and arguably the league's most talented defense inexplicably fell apart. Oribe Peralta scored twice in four minutes for Santos, netting 86th minute and 89th minute goals to level the tie at 2-2, which sent Santos through to the final on the seeding tiebreaker.

Monterrey police and city officials -- at least those who don't support Tigres -- are probably thrilled that they narrowly avoided a Clasico Regiomontano as the Liguilla final. Instead, Monterrey and Santos will contest a rematch of this season's CONCACAF Champions League final and a rematch of the 2010 Apertura's Liguilla final. Monterrey won on both occasions.

The first leg of the final is in Monterrey on Thursday and the second leg is in Torreon on Sunday. There are no seed or away goal tiebreakers in the final.

For more on Mexican football, head over to FMF State Of Mind.

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