Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Mexico: Tigres end long wait for national title (video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on December 12, 2011

Tigres are the new champions of Mexico following their 4-1 aggregate victory over Santos Laguna in the Torneo Apertura (Opening Championship) final.

Tigres had finished in third place in the regular season table with a record of seven wins, seven draws and three defeats from seventeen games, before going on to defeat Pachuca CF and Queretaro FC in the play-offs on their way to the final.

The first leg of the final, which was played last Thursday, saw Tigres claim a narrow 1-0 win over hosts Santos Laguna with an early goal from Damián Álvarez separating the two sides. Yesterday saw Tigres fall behind in the return fixture with Oribe Peralta levelling the scores on aggregate. The second half, however, saw Tigres restore the lead through Hector Mancilla and the game would be settled as a contest with Danilinho and Alan Pulido finishing off matters by making the score 3-1 on the night.

The championship win was Tigres’ first domestic title since 1982, a long wait of 29 years, and also secured a place in the 2012 Copa Libertadores.

TIGRES 3-1 SANTOS LAGUNA – APERTURA FINAL, 2ND LEG

Mexico: Monterrey and Santos qualify for Apertura final

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on November 29, 2010
Monterrey

Can Monterrey reclaim the Apertura title they won last season?

Monterrey and Santos Laguna have the chance to win the 2010-11 Mexican Apertura title after they defeated UNAM Pumas and Club América respectively. For Monterrey it’s a chance to defend the title that they won in the 2009-10 season whilst for Santos Laguna it’s the perfect opportunity to win a first domestic title since winning the 2007-08 Clausura tournament.

Monterrey were involved in a goalless draw in their semi-final first leg match against the Pumas and the second leg seemed destined to end in the same score line until two very late goals decided the match in Santos’ favour. Humberto Suazo finally broke the deadlock on 88 minutes with Neri Cardozo making the game safe two minutes into stoppage time by scoring the second goal of the game. Monterrey’s 2-0 win ensures that the club have the chance to defend the Apertura title they won last season, in which they defeated Cruz Azul in the final.

Santos Laguna were involved in a thrilling couple of games against Club América with the former going into last night’s second leg with a 2-1 lead. Carlos Quintero increased Santos’ aggregate lead by scoring the first goal of the return fixture after just two minutes. Vicente Sánchez restored parity on the night for Club América after 61 minutes only to see the home side re-take the lead sixty seconds later with Quintero scoring his second of the game. Matías Vuoso made the second leg 2-2 after 67 minutes but Santos regained the advantage for a third time with a quarter of an hour remaining thanks to Christian Benítez. Enrique Esqueda’s goal made the game 3-3 with five minutes to play but Santos were able to see out the rest of the match and take the tie 5-4 on aggregate.

With both Apertura finalists already qualified for the quarter-final stages of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League it would be the cherry on top of the cake to take domestic honours going into the second half of the season. The first leg of the Apertura final takes place on Thursday, December 2nd in the city of Torreón whilst Monterrey plays host to the second leg three days later. Both clubs have three league titles to their name – who can make sure of Number Four?

Mexico: Champions Four lead the way in Apertura (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on September 27, 2010
Cruz Azul v Monterrey

Cruz Azul (light blue shirts) and Monterrey have the best records in the Apertura after nine games

Nine matches into Mexico’s 19 game Torneo Apertura regular season and it is the quartet of teams who are currently gracing the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) who have the best records amongst all of the teams in their domestic top flight. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest developments.

For those unfamiliar with the make-up of Mexico’s domestic league the championship is split into two halves: Torneo Apertura (Opening Championship) and Torneo Clausura (Closing Championship). In each championship eighteen teams are split into three groups of six and every team plays each other once during the regular season. The eight teams with the best records then begin the knockout phase to decide the winner of that particular championship. At the moment the Apertura has effectively reached the halfway stage and the four teams with the best records are currently those same four involved in North and Central America’s elite club competition, reviews of which you can read about on Stoppage Time throughout the season.

Two of the CONCACAF representatives top the standings in Group 1 where Monterrey (the only team with a 100% record in the CCL) and Santos Laguna have been fighting for the leadership over the weekend. Monterrey were top going into Matchday 9 but were held to a goalless draw away at Querétaro which allowed Santos Laguna the opportunity to go to Club América and reclaim the leadership. Alas they were defeated in an exciting game by the odd goal in five as goals from Christian Benítez and Fernando Arce were not enough for Santos as they lost 3-2 with all of the goals coming in the first half. In the group standings Monterrey have 19 points from 9 games but Santos are a point behind with a game in hand.

Group 2 sees Toluca hold a narrow one point lead following their weekend victory 2-1 away at Monarcas Morelia. All of the goals came in the second half with Hugo Droguett’s 54th minute goal for the home side being sandwiched by strikes from Toluca’s Héctor Mancilla (51 mins) and Néstor Calderón (67 mins) which allowed the visitors to come away with the three points. Real San Luis had the chance to go above Toluca prematurely on Saturday night but missed out after they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat away at Jaguares. Both teams went in at the break tied at 1-1 and it was a goal from Jaguares’ Carlos Ochoa midway through the second half which proved decisive. Club América, following their Sunday victory against Santos, now lie second in the group.

The team with the best record at this stage is Cruz Azul. The 2009 CCL finalists have a nine point advantage over Jaguares at the top of Group 3, this despite going down to a 2-1 defeat on Saturday away at Necaxa. Christian Giménez’s 66th minute penalty halved the deficit for Cruz Azul after Darío Gandín (13 minutes) and Nicolás Pavlovich (36 mins) had given the home side a healthy two goal cushion at half time. Unfortunately Cruz Azul were unable to find an equalizer but that shouldn’t deter the team from finding their way into the play-offs as they currently hold a 7-0-2 record after nine games and are well on course in both domestic and international competition, just like their fellow group table-toppers.

WATCH NECAXA v CRUZ AZUL GOALS HERE: