DAVID SMITH - Monday, May 30, 2016
A last-second goal by Pachuca's Victor Guzmán saw Omar Gonzalez and los Tuzos claim the Liga MX Clausura championship over Edgar Castillo and Monterrey.
Monterrey 1 - 1 Pachuca (agg. 1-2)
Pachuca held a slight 1-0 advantage heading into Sunday's game, however knew their defense would be under pressure as star center back Oscar Murillo was out of the lineup due to an injury suffered in the first leg.
This left Gonzalez paired with the less mobile Aquivaldo Mosquera, creating an opening for los Rayados to attack in droves.
After sitting out the first leg, Edgar Castillo returned to the starting lineup for the hosts, going the distance in the defense.
Monterrey did dominate the game in nearly all aspects, although they wastefully blew their chance to pull the aggregate score even just past the half-hour mark when Edwin Cardona sent an early spot-kick over the bar after Neri Cardozo was fouled in the area.
They did quickly recover, opening the scoring in the 39th minute when Walter Ayoví hit a short corner to Dorlan Pabón, who took a step to the corner of the area and buried his shot into the lower right corner of Oscar Pérez's goal.
With the aggregate score tied, los Tuzos held on in the face of constant pressure from their hosts, and looked to be down for the count when Mosquera was sent off with 16 minutes left for a clear-cut take down on Pabón as he streaked towards goal.
However, with the game looked to be headed to a gruelling 30 minutes of extra time, Pachuca netted an unlikely winner in the third minute of injury time. Immediately after a throw-in deep in the attacking end, Emmanuel García found just enough space to fire in a long cross from near the sideline to the edge of the six-yard box, which Guzmán rose above Castillo to head in for the winner.
The title is Pachuca's sixth title in Mexico's top division, and their first since the 2007 Clausura championship.
A total of five players on both teams will now join their national team squads for the upcoming Copa América, most notably Monterrey's Edwin Cardona and Pachuca's Stefan Medina, both of whom were selected for the USA's first Group A opponent Colombia.
Castillo will also be on his way to San Jose to join with his American teammates as they make their final preparations for Friday's opening game.