Monterrey advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League final thanks to a late penalty from Humberto Suazo. A two-legged tie with Real Salt Lake awaits Monterrey in the final.Humberto Suazo converted a late penalty kick as Monterrey tied Cruz Azul 1-1 at Estadio Azul on Wednesday, giving Monterrey a 3-2 aggregate-goals victory in their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series.
Monterrey will meet MLS side Real Salt Lake in the CONCACAF Champions League final. The first leg will be played in Estadio Tecnologico on April 20 while the second and decisive leg will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 27.
Needing a victory at home to reach the final, Cruz Azul sought out for a goal and nabbed it in the 24th minute. Hugo Droguett ripped a shot on goal that Jonathan Orozco turned aside. However, Cesar Villaluz cleaned up the rebound and buried the ball, giving Cruz Azul a 1-0 lead at home and a 2-2 aggregate score. Having scored in Monterrey, Cruz Azul held the tiebreaker and needed simply to hold onto their lead to reach the final.
Monterrey tried to respond. Manager Victor Manuel Vucetich made a change, removing Jesus Zavala and putting attack-minded Neri Cardozo into the match, but Monterrey were still struggling to pressure Cruz Azul's goal.
The game changed in Monterrey's favor in the 78th minute. On a cross from the right side into the box, Cruz Azul's Waldo Ponce shoved Monterrey's Jose Maria Basanta from behind. Monterrey were awarded a spot kick while Ponce was shown his second yellow card of the match, leaving Cruz Azul with 10 players.
Chilean international Humberto Suazo stepped to the spot and rifled the ball past Jesus Corona. Suazo fired the ball to Corona's right, and while Corona dived that way, he could not get to the ball as it settled just inside the post and into the back fo the net.
With 10 players to try and overcome the deficit with, Cruz Azul simply did not have enough and whimpered out of the tournament quietly.
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