All scoreless soccer is not created equal. Monterrey and Santos Laguna proved that in the first half of the Mexican Liguilla final first leg and it wasn't just the magnitude of the match that made it exciting. There were chances on each side, an interesting tactical battle and even some spectacular goalkeeper. Ignore the 0-0 scoreline because that was a fun 45 minutes.
Monterrey bossed the match in the early going as Santos struggled to decide how they wanted to defend Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris. They committed seemingly everyone to tracking back and were rarely in position to break as a result. It didn't even limit Monterrey's opportunities either as Los Rayados generated a few chances, but the final ball just missed on a couple occasions and the match remained level.
After their rocky start, Santos were able to rebound and grab a semblance of shape. They remained compact in the middle, dropping their central midfielders deeper, but tucked the wide players in and left them to be the creators. It worked and they almost scored a couple times on their own. Once Felipe Baloy did put the ball in the net on a corner kick, but the referee disallowed it for a foul that was soft at best.
Even though Santos made things more even in the latter part of the half, the last chance still went to Monterrey. A clearance by Santos only made it as far as Luis Perez, who settled and unleashed a hellacious shot from almost 30 yards. It looked destined for the top corner, but Oswaldo Sanchez made a great save to keep the match level going into halftime.