Santos Laguna has avenged its CONCACAF Champions League loss to Monterrey by beating the Rayados 2-1 (3-2 aggregate) in the second leg of the Mexican Primera final in order to be crowned champions.
An early goal from Argentine midfielder Daniel Ludueña put the Guerreros in front and set the tone for what would be a chess match between Santos manager Benjamin Galindo and Monterrey boss Victor Manuel Vucetich. Galindo chose to emulate Monterrey's usual tactic of a quick strike and dropping back to invite the other team's attackers, this in the hopes of exploiting a counterattack.
Monterrey, which beat Santos Laguna just weeks ago to win a second consecutive CONCACAF Champions League trophy, came into the match with the confidence to give Vucetich his 13th trophy in the same number of attempts. Chilean striker Humberto Suazo wasted a chance close to the end of the first half that would have drawn the Rayados level going into the break.
In the second half, it was CCL Golden Ball winner Oribe Peralta who put any lingering doubts to rest with a superb strike after combining with Ludueña at the edge of the Monterrey penalty box.
Jonathan Orozco saved Monterrey from going down 3-0 with a pair of key saves before Aldo de Nigris made it 2-1 off a worthy individual effort.
The final minutes were tinged with excitement, as Santos goalie Oswaldo Sánchez parried away several shots that would have sent the series into extra time, while Ludueña almost shut the door with a halfcourt screamer that went inches outside of the goal.
Santos won its fourth league title and denied Monterrey its fifth. The Santos win also means that Chivas have earned a berth into the 2012-13 CCL. A Monterrey win would have given América a berth into the same tournament.
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