Cristian Suarez scored twice as Santos Laguna beat Morelia 3-2
in a thriller at Nuevo Estadio Corona on Saturday to reach the
Mexican Apertura championship final.
Substitute Angel Sepulveda also scored twice in the final
quarter of an hour for Morelia, who ended the match with nine
players having fought back from three goals down, but could not
prevent Santos from going through.
The aggregate score of the semi-final tie was 4-4 after
Morelia won the first leg 2-1 at home in midweek but Santos
qualified by virtue of having finished higher in the league
standings before the knockout phase.
Looking for their first title since the 2008 Clausura,
Santos took the lead just past the half-hour when defender Joel
Huiqui brought down Oribe Peralta and midfielder Juan Rodriguez
converted the penalty sending Morelia's goalkeeper Federico
Vilar the wrong way.
Huiqui was sent off, leaving Morelia a man short for nearly
an hour and Santos went further in front early in the second
half when Peralta dribbled past three defenders on a run across
the edge of the box laying off to Suarez who fired past Vilar.
Suarez scored again in the 65th minute before Morelia,
looking no more tired than their opponents despite having been a
man short for most of the match, staged a thrilling comeback.
Sepulveda put Morelia back into the match in the 74th minute
when he headed home from midfielder Edgar Lugo's cross.
With three minutes remaining, Sepulveda chested down a high
ball into the box with his back to goal and a defender breathing
down his neck and, as he fell backwards he managed an overhead-kick
past advancing goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
Morelia had midfielder Aldo Ramirez sent off in stoppage-time
for a dangerous tackle on Colombian forward Darwin Quintero.
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