Valencia leads Tigres to CCL final despite late charge from Santos Laguna

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Manuel Guadarrama
Seeking their first title after two previous finals, Tuca Ferretti's men held off a late charge from their Liga MX rivals to earn another shot

Tigres UANL advanced to the Concacaf Champions League final, despite a 3-2 second-leg defeat at Santos Laguna.

Santos fought back with three unanswered goals but first-half strikes from Enner Valencia and Julian Quinones gave Tigres a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Through to their third final in four seasons, Tigres – who have never won the competition – will face either Monterrey or Sporting Kansas City in the decider.

Tigres were in a commanding position heading into Wednesday's return fixture thanks to last week's 3-0 win on home soil – inspired by Valencia's brace.

Former West Ham and Everton forward Valencia was in the thick of the action again midweek, opening the scoring in the 11th minute after rounding the goalkeeper.

Quinones doubled the lead 23 minutes later when he drove past three Santos defenders and curled his shot beyond Jonathan Orozco.

Trailing 5-0 on aggregate, Julio Furch reduced the deficit prior to halftime before netting a second goal approaching the hour-mark.

Diego Valdes put Santos ahead on the night but it was merely a consolation for the home side, who saw Javier Correa fail to convert a 95th-minute penalty as their late push for a spot in the final came up short. 

Rival Monterrey remains the most likely opponent for Tigres in the final, setting up a potential Clasico Regio between the cross-town rivals. 

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Like Tigres, Monterrey enters the second leg of its tie with Sporting Kansas City sporting a comfortable lead from the first leg. 

Rayados rolled to a 5-0 win last week, Dorlan Pavon scoring twice as the Liga MX giants made easy work of the MLS outfit.

​Kansas City will host the second leg of that tie on Thursday, with the home side looking to pull off a miracle and keep MLS' hopes of a first CCL title alive. 

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