AS IT HAPPENED: CONCACAF LIGA CAMPEONES GRAN FINAL! Leg 1 Santos vs Monterrey

We start tonights festivities in Torreon, Mexico. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS! The most important final in all the world starts tonight! CAN YOU DIG IT? It is a scorching hot 93 degrees in Torreon. Wow. Insane. For those of you that listen to the podcast you will know that Stephen Piggott has bet me TWENTY dollars on who will the Cup. He has taken Monterrey and I have taken the mighty Santos.  VAMOS SANTOS!

This bet hurts me as I love both clubs. If the Fire could acquire any of the attacking players for either club I would be very, very happy. Alas the chance has been blown and all we can do is wistfully watch Chupete Suazo be great from afar.

ENOUGH OF THAT. Prepare thyself! Grab your libations, gird your loins, acquire food if you must. Let us watch the feast of football that lays before us!

Why hello there UniMas you sexy spanish over the air channel you. Thankfully I won't have to listen to Brian Dunseth or that red headed bartender guy. YAY! VICTORY IS MINE!

SANTOS: Sanchez, Baloy, Mares, Manjarres, Figueroa, Lugo, Guerrero, Salinas, Peralta, Quintero, Cardenas

MONTERREY: Orozco, Solis, Basanta, Mier, Lopez, Ayovi, Zavala, Corona, Delgado, Suazo, de Nigris

Hercules Gomez on the bench to start the evening. The first choice Monterrey keeper is back as Jonathan Orozco makes his return in time for the final.

Roberto Garcia is our referee tonight.

Santos walks out HOLDING EACH OTHERS HANDS! Incredible. Yoshihiro Akiyama is smiling somewhere.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dbN97UDpHw&w=420&h=315]

KICKOFF! VAMOS SANTOS!

First: Smoke rises up from the Santos supporters. WELL DONE YOU CRAZY PEOPLE YOU!

Second: OSWALDO SANCHEZ STUFFS CHUPETE! AYE AYE AYE! Our friend Felipe Balloy, the Panamaniac, mishits his clearance right at a Monterrey player. Who then finds Chupete. Sanchez dives to his right to make the save. Mother of all the fucks don't do that again.

Fourth: Peralta sneaks into the box with the ball! OROZCO WITH A KICK SAVE, IT IS A BEAUTY! This series should just be subtitled THERE WILL BE GOALS.

Monterrey is UP for this game. Their classic slow start does not seem to be there. THEY HAVE COME TO DEFEND THEIR CROWN!

Seventh: Chupete is already bombing forward putting pressure on the Santos backline. He has now almost broken through twice. The Santos defense is holding but it isn't inspiring much confidence.

Eighth: Darwin Quintero gets himself a yellow for a challenge on the keeper but he barely touches him and WE HAVE OUR FIRST CONCACAF CALL OF THE EVENING. That didn't take long.

Eleventh: We get a split shot of the coaches and they both are rocking fine suits. Well done gentlemen.

Twelfth: Manjarrez chests the ball out for a Monterrey corner. THIS WAS A MANLY CHESTING. Nice play.

Thirteenth: Ensuing corner punched out by Sanchez for, wait for it, ANOTHER CORNER. Nothing comes of that corner. Chupete is taking the corners which seems a bit weird to me. Here you have one of the best in the box finishers ever and he is hitting your crosses? His crosses are good but seriously someone else can't do that?

Fifteenth: Santos seem to be getting the better of the possession now. Monterrey dropping into their typical shell.

Sixteenth: AYE AYE AYE, QUINTERO DENIED BY OROZCO. Great cross from Guerrero that Darwin tries to flick in with his foot. It hits the keeper who looked to have been fooled by the shot.

Seventeenth: Monterrey says fuck that shit and brings the offense down the field. Chupete in acres of space and it ends up earning a corner. Nothing comes of the corner.

Eighteenth: Yellow for Zavala as he takes out Salinas' leg. Not nearly as soft as the other yellow. Fairly legit. Free kick for Santos that the ONE MAN WALL OF CHUPETE BLOCKS. HALLA CHUPETE!

AAAAAHHHHH, Chupete gets the ball makes a great pass to a bursting Delgado. Sanchez is out parries the ball away and Delgado goes flying. Santos defense clears the ball out for a throw in. THIS GAME IS AWESOME.

Twentieth: Yellow for Chupete! He tries to tackle a guy from behind, doesn't really get him and sees a yellow. OK.

This game is a track meet in 90 degree heat.

Twenty-Fourth: Yellow for a rather wreckless challenge from Lugo. That could have been disastrous. I would also like to point out Aldo de Nigris just dropped back into the defensive third to win the ball and hold it up. That is what a great player does.

Twenty-Fifth:  ANOTHER YELLOW! This time to Manjarrez for a soft from behind challenge. THERE WILL BE RED CARDS TONIGHT. Probably more than one.

The constant facebook/twitter ticker during this game is horrible. On the bright side it is the thinnest and least obnoxious ticker in all of sports television so yay for that. Also the fact I can't read Spanish very well is helping me out a lot right now.

Twenty-Ninth: The Monterrey midfield has shown up tonight. They are playing some very good defense. Holding their own and disrupting Santos possession excellently. Santos is having a hard time getting their offense going.

Thirtieth: Aldo de Nigris gets the ball at the top of the box, shrugs a defender off, and just blindly rips a shot at goal. This shot was ON FRAME and would have gone in but Sanchez was standing right where the shot was hit. Wow. Aldo has his working boots on early tonight.

UniMas turning the sound off during the Puto chants is downright amazing right now. NEVER CHANGE SPANISH LANGUAGE TV!

The game has slowed down but the physicality is high right now. Lots of banging going on. Elbows are high (would you expect less?) but so far neither team is losing their cool. Both of these sides are easily the classiest of the Mexican league in recent history.

Thirty-Sixth: Oswaldo Sanchez with a MIGHTY throw initiates the offense. Santos end up misfiring at the end of the run as Peralta couldn't get on the end of a Quintero cross. Unfortunate.

Thirty-Seventh: Peralta takes a blast from from distance. It goes way wide but is a notable moment since Quintero was able to get the ball at the top and quickly facilitate to an open Peralta.

Thirty-Ninth: Chupete conferences with his manager Victor Vucetich. Not sure what that was about

Fortieth: free kick conceded by Monterrey. Needlessly. Silly trip on Lugo who wasn't about to do anything. Don't worry the ONE MAN WALL CHUPETE puts the ball out for a corner. Nothing comes of the corner.

Forty-Second: Delgado (or Chelitos as the back of his jersey says) is absolutely massacred in a dangerous tackle by Manjarrez. Somehow no cards were given. Manjarrez is very, very lucky right now. Could have been his second yellow. The ref is trying to gain control of the game by not carding anyone here. Good call if you ask me. Too many soft cards early.

Forty-Fifth: one minute of stoppage for this half.

Halftime Whistle:

THAT WAS A FUCKING GREAT HALF OF SOCCER. Santos have to be a bit upset with themselves as they have allowed Chupete too much space on the counter attack. de Nigris has been kept pretty much in check. On the other hand Monterrey is fighting hard. They have come to defend their CAMPEONATO. Lots of good fight from them this half along with their normally excellent counter attack. Second half should be great.

Second Half is underway!

Forty-Eighth: CHUPETE OFF THE POST! CHUPETE OFF THE POST! CHUPETE OFF THE POST! Wow. Great cross from someone (couldn't tell who) that finds an UNMARKED Suazo who hammers a header right into the post. Monterrey looking for that away goal.

Fiftieth: Peralta goes down somewhat theatrically in the box. The replay shows his leg getting stuck under the defender. Peralta may be done tonight. Stretcher is out and he is laying in pain. He was called for a foul earlier in the play. Yep his night is done. Trainer and bench signal for the substitution. This is bad, really bad for Santos. Peralta looks to be in tears on the stretcher. He is up and walking now. Very strange.

Fifty-Third: Monterrey blasts a shot form the top of the box that goes wide. Santos sub: Gomez on. Peralta off. Oribe is shown on the bench getting his knee iced down. Hopefully this is more precautionary than anything else.

Fifty-Eighth: Game is starting to get feisty. Gomez and Delgado get into it a bit. Santos is building from the back but the end product is resulting in a lot of muted goal kicks by Monterrey.

The pace has really slowed down. Monterrey is in their defensive shell disrupting play just enough that Santos is never comfortable with the ball. The Monterrey counter attack keeps trying to create opportunities. As long as the pace stays the same this game is Monterrey's to take.

Sixty-Third: Santos hold possession for a bit but can't put anything decent together. They end up weakly conceding possession. Peralta leaving the game has deprived them of their offensive fulcrum. Struggling without him. Quintero is trying to assert himself more but so far it is not so good. The more possession they get the better Santos is going to feel.

Sixty-Fifth: Santos fans in full throat right now. Urging their team into something better.

Sixty-Sixth: RED CARD: CHELITO. Monterrey down to 10 men. Chelito went in hard at Gomez and clipped his foot. Hercules sold it like he was shot. In real time this looked like a legit red card. Replay would indicate it is more along the lines of a yellow. I don't blame the ref for pulling out the red card. Chelito had been getting more physical as the game wore on and honestly should have already been on a yellow.

Sixty-Seventh: Monterrey Sub. Moreno on. Corona off. Monterrey clearly looking to get out of Torreon with a 0-0 draw now.

Sixty-Eighth: QUINTERO HEADER RIGHT AT OROZCO! The deadlock was almost ended.

Seventy-First: de Nigris wins a free kick near the goal line 5 yards outside the box. Chupete stands over the free kick. He classically wastes time by picking up the junk being thrown at him and trying to deliver it to the ref. Chupete strikes the ball right into the two man wall. Ball finds its way into the box where it bounces around and ends up in the hands of Sanchez.

Seventy-Fourth: Quintero hits a cross well out of bounds. Santos still struggling to find their offensive balance even while up a man. Terrific performance from the Monterrey defense this evening.

Seventy-Seventh: Santos sub. Cejas on. Lugo off.

Seventy-Ninth: Monterrey sub. Chavez on. de Nigris off.

Eightieth: Some nice goal keeping from Sanchez as his defenders header is not great and CHUPETE WAS LURKING.

Eighty-Second: Quintero gets the ball on the left wing. Crosses it into the box for Gomez who just isn't tall enough to get his head to the ball.

Eighty-Third: Chupete channels his inner Blanco. He stays on the ground grabbing his ankle buying his teammates some time while they are down a man. The ref comes over and waves him up. CHUPETE DOES BLANCO GROUND GIRATIONS! Someone has been watching his tapes.

Eighty-Fifth: Santos sub. Calderon on. Salinas off.  Santos still can't generate much offense. Monterrey standing strong.

Eighty-Sixth: Quintero gets the ball in space, flicks it to Gomez whose shot is blocked and then put out for a corner. First real offense for Santos in a while.  Ensuing corner amounts to nothing.

Eighty-Seventh: Monterrey sub. Madrigal on. Suazo off. I understand what Vucetich is doing but Monterrey without Suazo and de Nigris on the field is just weird.

Eighty-Ninth: Santos getting a bit desperate as a long ball is hit that goes too far for the wing player to get on the end of.

Ninetieth: Gomez flops in the box to no avail. Good call by the ref.

Ninety-First: Quintero gets free and into space but has his pass intercepted. BAD PASS DARWIN. Four minutes of stoppage forthcoming.

Ninety-Second: Santos work the ball around find a runner into the box. A low cross is hit towards Gomez by Cejas that is cleared out for a throw in.

Ninety-Third: Shot goes in but Orozco easily dives to his right and saves. Didn't see who got the shot off.  Ball goes back into Monterrey defensive end. Hercules flops again and doesn't get the call. Ends up being a Monterrey free kick that is blasted into the Santos end.

FINAL WHISTLE

Incredible performance from Monterrey. They held after going down a man and looked likely to win when it was even strength. I did not expect this result tonight. In retrospect for Santos they should have started Gomez with Peralta and Quintero. There offense never got going after Peralta's injury. In particular Gomez couldn't get going after being subbed on a man up. Very disappointing from a Santos perspective. Going up a man for thirty minutes and creating almost nothing during that time span is just not good enough.

We are going to have a hell of a second leg next Wednesday in Monterrey. SEE YOU THEN!