Santos used a gift goal late in the first leg of the Apertura 2010 final to beat Monterrey 3-2 and will head north needing just a draw to claim the league championship.
Duilio Davino scored an own goal in the 85th minute that gave Santos the decisive goal in a match that was back-and-forth throughout.
Santos came out firing on all cylinders and took an early lead. Jorge Ivan “Guti” Estrada ran onto a well-placed through ball from Christian Benitez. Estrada settled and ripped a shot on goal. Monterrey’s Jonathan Orozco swatted at the shot and got his fingertips to
it but could not stop the ball from going in for a goal.
Santos could not capitalize on their momentum and eventually Humberto “Chupete” Suazo found the back of the net. Aldo De Nigris fed Suazo who slipped through Santos’ defense and buried a ball into the back of the net.
However, Monterrey’s sloppy defense again let in a goal as Santos swarmed quickly back for a go-ahead goal. Estrada again was in on the action as he sent a cross in from the right side of the penalty box. Carlos Darwin Quintero to his head to the ball and knocked it past Orozco as Santos went into the break ahead by a goal.
Monterrey began to slowly recover from Santos’ high-paced first half. Santos’ attack was not as strong early in the second half and Monterrey had more possession than they did in the first half.
The change in rhythm helped Monterrey out as the visitors leveled terms again. Santos’ Jonathan Lacerda gave away a ball to De Nigris deep in Santos’ third. De Nigris ran towards the box and Santos’ Oswaldo Sanchez raced off his line to try and thwart De Nigris. He did as he blocked the initial shot but the ball laid out for Neri Cardozo, who unloaded a blast on goal. With Sanchez on the ground, Cardozo easily hit the back of the net as Monterrey equalized.
Monterrey did well to slow Santos down for most of the rest of the half but a bit of fortune helped Santos take a late lead. Jose Maria Cardenas go free down the left side of the box and slipped a ball to the front of the goal. Monterrey defender Davino stuck his leg out in an attempt to stop Benitez from latching onto it. He did, but the ball deflected off the post and across the goal line and Santos went ahead 3-2.
Now, Monterrey need a victory to have a chance of winning the title. A one-goal win sends the series to extra time and penalties, if necessary, while a win of two or more gives Monterrey the title outright.