Santos Laguna Vs. Monterrey, 2012 Mexican Liguilla Final: Santos Hold On To Become Champions Of Mexico

Up 2-0 at home and needing just a win to be crowned Mexican Clausura champions, Santos Laguna were supposed to have it easy, but it wasn't. Monterrey put together a furious rally late on, cutting Santos' lead to 2-1 and piling on the pressure late, but in the end, this one was all Santos. They held on to beat Monterrey 2-1 in the match and win the Liguilla final, 3-2 on aggregate, for the Clausura title.

Santos were on the front foot from the start and got on the scoreboard after just six minutes. Darwin Quintero got Santos going when his blazing run got the Monterrey defense scrambling before passing to Daniel Ludueña, whose brilliant footwork got him in behind the defense. In alone on goal, Ludueña beat Jonathan Orozco and Santos were in front.

Unfortunately for the home side, that would be their only goal of the first half. it wasn't that they didn't deserve more, because they did, but they just couldn't breakthrough again. They were the far better side and Monterrey looked completely out of sorts, but the final ball was lacking and Santos' domination would only yield a 1-0 halftime lead.

Monterrey began to get into the match in the second half, but just when they did, Santos doubled their lead. Oribe Peralta did a fantastic job of settling the ball and feeding Ludueña, who played it right back to Peralta on a clever one-two. With a small opening at goal, Peralta knocked it past Orozco to put the home side 2-0 up.

Needing two goals to force extra time or see their title hopes slip away, Monterrey brought pressure late and it paid off in the 78th minute when Aldo de Nigrid got them on the scoreboard. The striker's good run put him 15 yards from goal and when the Santos defense inexplicably gave him space, he took advantage. de Nigris' good shot found the side netting and Monterrey were back within one.

Santos, who looked comfortable two goals up at home and destined to win the title, were no in trouble. Monterrey was coming at them with numbers, but Santos got some fine goalkeeping from Oswaldo Sanchez and solid defending when they most needed it to hold off Los Rayados. The final whistle went and the packed Estadio Corona exploded as Santos were crowned champions of Mexico.

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