• Sunday May 19, 2013

    Cruz Azul advances to Liga MX final

    MEXICO CITY -- Cruz Azul qualified for the final of Mexican football after a 2-1 victory Sunday over visiting Santos in their second leg of their Liga MX semifinal at the Estadio Azul.

    "La Máquina" advanced to the 2013 Clausura final, 5-1 on aggregate, thanks in large part to its 3-0 victory three days ago in Torreón. Cruz Azul will now face city rivals Club America in the final. Both finalists qualified for the 2013-13 CONCACAF Champions League.  Santos will not appear in the next confederation competition after finishing as runner-up to Monterrey in two straight editions.

    Like in the first leg, a defensive error from Santos resulted in a goal for the "Cementeros", but this time it came early in the match. In the seventh minute, Javier Orozco took advantage of a poor back pass from Rodolfo Salinas and easily beat Oswaldo Sánchez to make it 1-0.

    Cruz Azul continued to play confident, free-flowing football, doubling its lead in the 25th minute. Orozco, the Champions League's all-time leading scorer (24 goals), completed his brace with a header off a right-sided cross from Pablo Barrera.

    Though that goal effectively ended the series, Santos - the 2012 Clausura champion - would not give up.

    The Guerreros cut the deficit eight minutes before the interval. Andres Yair Renteria received a long ball from defender Felipe Baloy and shot powerfully past Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jesús Corona.

    Despite that goal, Cruz Azul maintained control of the match. Things were made easier for the host, when Carlos Darwin Quintero was sent off for trying to score via handball in the 51st minute.

    Seven minutes later, any hope of a miracle comeback for Santos disappeared with another sending off. This time, Panama international Baloy received his second yellow card for an elbow.

    Cruz Azul pushed hard for a third goal that never arrived, but it didn't matter, the home fans were already thinking about América.

    The first leg will be played this Thursday at the Estadio Azul, while the second leg will take place next Sunday at the Estadio Azteca.

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