• Sunday Dec 04, 2011

    Tigres in, Santos to CCL for third straight year

    MEXICO CITY - Santos Laguna has qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League for a third consecutive season and will be joined by fellow Mexican club Tigres UANL, both earning their berths with weekend victories in the Apertura semifinals.

    Tigres became the seventh and most recent qualifier with its 1-0 win over Queretaro on Sunday, a day after Santos defeated Monarcas Morelia 3-2 to advance.

    Santos reached the Champions League quarterfinals this past season and has qualified for the final eight that will be played in March, when it will face the Seattle Sounders. It advanced to the semifinals in the inaugural season.

    Tigres, which will make its debut in the Champions League next year, will play Santos on Thursday and Sunday for its third Mexican league title and first since 1982. Santos has won the title three times, most recently the 2008 Clausura.

    The winner of the title match will be placed in the Champions League Group Stage while the runner-up will start in the Preliminary Round.

    Christian Suarez scored two goals to help Santos to a 3-0 lead by the 64th minute, and "Los Guerreros" held on despite a pair of goals by Angel Sepulveda in the final 16 minutes.The result finished Santos and Morelia with a 4-4 aggregate, but Santos advanced based on its better regular-season finish.

    In San Nicolas, Manuel Lopez Mondragon's 44th-minute own-goal was enough for Tigres, which drew 0-0 at Queretaro on Thursday.

    The two Mexican teams join the LA Galaxy, Seattle, Houston and Real Salt Lake from the United States and Chorrillo FC of Panama as clubs which already have secured berths in next year's Champions League.

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