Mexican clubs advance to CCL final
Posted on 4 April 2012 in FIFA Club World Cup
Mexican clubs Santos Laguna and Monterrey have advanced to the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League final. The two sides won their semi-final series on Wednesday 4 April, with Santos Laguna knocking off Toronto FC and Monterrey knocking off Pumas.
Toronto FC was the first Canadian club to reach the semi-final stage of CONCACAF Champions League. After a 1:1 draw in the opening leg on 28 March, Toronto FC built a 2-1 lead in the first half away against Santos Laguna. The Mexican host scored late in the first half and then added four more in the second half (including two from penalty kicks). Santos Laguna won the series 7-3 on aggregate. Santos Laguna advances to the CONCACAF final for the first time.
After winning the first leg 3:0 at home on 28 March, Monterrey closed out the series with a 1:1 away draw against Pumas on 4 April. Monterrey, the defending CONCACAF champions, won the 2011-12 semi-final series 4-1.
The 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League final will be played 17 and 24 April, with the home-and-away order yet to be confirmed. Just last year, Monterrey won the final series 3-2 on aggregate over American club Real Salt Lake.
For the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semi-final series, Toronto FC's starting XI featured Milos Kočić in goal, Richard Eckersley at right back, Ty Harden and Miguel Aceval at centre back, Ashtone Morgan at left back, Julian de Guzman, Terry Dunfield and Luis Silva at midfield, and Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata and Nicky Soolsma up front.
In the second half, coach Aron Winter switched Dunfield for Matt Stinson (59'), Plata for Ryan Lambe (65'), and Aceval for Doneil Henry (69'). Plata scored both goals for Canada in the first half.
In all, Toronto FC used five Canadian footballers throughout 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League, all five of whom featured in the semi-final finale (Morgan, de Guzman, Dunfield, Stinson and Henry).
Toronto FC is a three-time Canadian champion, now in its third CONCACAF Champions League campaign. After Impact Montréal reached the quarter-final phase in 2008-09, Toronto FC became the first Canadian club to reach the semi-final stage this 2011-12 season. The winner of 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2012.
The 2012 Amway Canadian Championship - which will determine Canada's representative in 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League - runs on four consecutive Wednesday nights from 2 to 23 May 2012.