• Friday May 11, 2012

    Monterrey draws 1-1 to return to CCL finals



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    MEXICO CITY - Defending champion Monterrey returned to the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, drawing fellow Mexican side Pumas UNAM 1-1 Wednesday to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory.

    Angel Reyna scored in the 35th minute to assure "Los Rayados" of a chance to claim a second consecutive crown, helping Monterrey extend its unbeaten streak to eight overall with its seventh victory.

    It will play Mexican Clausura leader Santos Laguna in the finals April 17 and April 24, hosting the first leg.

    Pumas, which has fallen to 14th in the 18-team Mexican league, extended its winless streak to five games but finally ended a 374-minute goalless streak midway through the second half.

    Antonio Garcia's tally in the 71st minute was only its second since it defeated Isidro Metapan 8-0 in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on March 15.

    Monterrey is unbeaten in its last four meetings against Santos, including wins in each of the last two years. The teams drew 1-1 in their last encounter on February 18.

    Pumas had more possession but only a handful of chances to show for it.

    Monterrey, which had scored three goals or more in seven of its last eight games, took the lead when Reyna played a short ball at the top of the area into Cesar Delgado, who touched it back to him. Reyna ran across the 18 and volleyed the rolling ball with his left foot from the edge of the box inside the right post past Pumas keeper Odin Patino.

    Monterrey was able to sufficiently stifle Pumas' attack, requiring the Mexico City club to commit enough numbers to defend with chances such as second-half substitute Cesar de la Pena's strike that hit the right post in the 57th.

    Pumas finally scored when a corner kick pinged through the area and Diego De Buen settled before squaring the ball across the six-yard box, where Garcia volleyed past Monterrey keeper Jonathan Orozco.

    The Santos-Monterrey clash will mark the third year in four since the Champions League began that the final will be contested between two Mexican teams.

    Mexican clubs have won 27 confederation club championship titles, including the last six. The last non-Mexican team to win the crown was Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa, which defeated Pumas in the final in 2005.

    Monterrey has won seven straight in the Champions League, not allowing more than one goal in any of the matches. Santos has won six straight at home the Champions League, but only one of nine away from home.

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