The teams take a 1-1 draw back to Torreon, Mexico for the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League second leg with both sides missing key players through suspension.Following two consecutive losses in MLS (with a combined six goals conceded), Toronto FC held Santos Laguna, top of the Mexican Primera Division, to a 1-1 draw in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg at BMO Field.
The scoring was opened by -- who else? -- Herculez Gomez after half an hour. The American sidefooted home after a curling ball from the right wing put him past the defense.
The momentum moved further Santos' way when TFC striker Danny Koevermans was booked for dissent. He'll miss the second leg through suspension.
However, shortly after, Miguel Aceval smashed a free kick through the wall to equalize.
Though that ended the scoring, the excitement wasn't anywhere near finished. Osmar Mares was ejected in the 77th minute when he lifted his studs into Richard Eckersley's ribs, though the call was far from straightforward.
After the final whistle, Carlos Quintero, who had assisted Gomez's goal, headbutted Ashtone Morgan and was sent off. Both benches jumped into a brawl and had to be separated by security.
"They already warned us that it is going to be a war over there and we know that ourselves," Julian de Guzman said. "Now we kind of sparked up some more fire after this game for these guys."
Ricardo Salazar refereed the game. Though TFC coach Aron Winter dubbed his performance "very good," Santos coach Benjamin Galindo saw things differently. "An American ref shouldn't have been officiating for Americans," he said. "The wrong No.3 got sent off."
Both Quintero and Aceval wear No.3.
In the other semifinal, Monterrey walloped Pumas UNAM 3-0. Aldo de Nigris scored two and Humberto Suazo set up all three. The second legs will be played on April 4.
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Rudi Schuller contributed additional reporting from Toronto.