KENYA BROWN - Monday, May 14, 2018
Jorge Villafana and Santos Laguna will be playing in the Clausura final while the American trio at Club Tijuana fell short in their pursuit of the crown.
Santos Laguna vs. America (Santos Laguna win 6-3 on aggregate)
Santos Laguna continued their fine form in their semi-final series against America as they romped onto a commanding win to book their place in the final.
Los Verdiblancos hit the capital team hard in the first leg with a comprehensive 4-1 win at Estadio Nuevo Corona. Jorge Villafana, who has been the first choice left back for the team, watched all the action from the bench this time. Joe Corona also watched from the bench for America.
The host got things going in the 15th minute when Djaniny teed up teammate Osvaldo Martinez to take a long-range strike that beat America goalkeeper Augustin Marchesin.
However, Cecilio Dominguez leveled the score just after the half-hour mark when he volleyed in a cross from Renato Ibarra.
Santos retook the lead in the 38th minute when Julio Furch took a long-range strike of his own and hit the back of the net.
Furch's day was not done as he added a second tally in the 54th minute when took a pass from Jose Abella and slotted his shot past Marchesin to extend his team's lead.
Edwin Cetre capped the game in the 79th minute with a blistering shot.
America were going to need a miracle if they were going to get back into the game in the second leg, but that would not happen as the second leg ended in a 2-2 tie at Estadio Azteca.
Villafana did see action in this game as came off the bench in the 65th minute. Corona, on the other hand, remained on the bench for America.
The capital team did start the game off on the right foot as Celcilio Dominguez coverted a penalty in the 11th minute to reduce the aggregate scoreline.
America gave their fans even more hope in the 23rd minute when Bruno Valdez rose up to head in a Jeremy Menez corner kick.
However, Jonathan Rodriguez scored a goal for Santos in the 41st minute as he was released by a through ball from Brian Lozano which then allowed him to round the goalkeeper before put his shot in the back of the net.
Any hope of a turnaround was dashed in the second half as Santos scored the critical goal to deny their opponents any chance of reaching the final. Jesus Isijara's shot in the 85th minute hit the post before crossing the goal line.
Santos now have a chance to win their first Clausura crown since the 2015 season.
Tijuana vs. Toluca (Toluca wins 5-3 on aggregate)
Tijuana put up a fight, but they eventually went down to a Toluca team that finished atop of the standings during the regular season.
The first leg would Los Xolos come away with the advantage, but left kicking themselves when they gave away a late goal to end the game with 2-1 scoreline at Estadio Caliente.
Alejandro Guido came off the bench for Tijuana while Rubio Rubin and Michael Orozco watched all of the action.
The host opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Juan Lucero curled his shot around Toluca goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.
Lucero doubled Tijuana's lead in the 50th minute when he collected a pass from teammate Gustavo Bou and slotted his shot into the goal.
Tijuana should have left the game with a shutout, but Toluca gave themselves a lifeline in stoppage time when Fernando Uribe headed the ball into the goal from a free-kick.
The second leg totally belonged to Toluca as a barrage of goals saw them come away with a 4-1 win at Estadio Nemesio Diez and passage to the final.
Michael Orozco was the only American among the trio to earn a spot on the bench for the contest.
Toluca opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Fernando Uribe headed the ball into the goal following a pass from teammate Antonio Rios.
Uribe added his second on the day just after the half-hour mark when chested down a pass from Rubens Sambueza before unleashing an overhead kick that the ball beyond the reach of Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud.
It was a rough day for Tijuana and it was made even worse when the referee gave sent off Luis Mendoza in the 37th for his second yellow card.
Tijuana were then reduced to nine men in the 61st minute when Miller Bolanos was shown a red card for his reckless challenge on Sambueza.
However, Los Xolos were able to hit back and score in the 66th minute when Luis Chavez's free-kick hit the top corner of the goal.
Despite the goal, Toluca were too strong as Uribe completed his hat-trick in the 86th minute as he guided the ball over the outstretched hand of Lajud and into the back of the net.
Pablo Barrientos rounded out the scoring two minutes later to set up a meeting with Santos Laguna in the two-leg final.