AS IT HAPPENED: CONCACAF LIGA DE CAMPEONES FINALE Santos vs Monterrey Leg 2

It is fucking PACKED in Monterrey Estadio Tecnologico is rocking. TIFO is raised. Balloons are a moving. The crowd is a singing. GREAT ATMOSPHERE! Monterrey is ninety minutes away from third consecutive CONCACAF CAMPEONATO. The last time this was done was in 69, 70 and 71 by Cruz Azul. Wow.

Oswaldo Sanchez reads a bit to the fans before the game then he hands the mic off to the Monterrey capitan Basanta who also reads something from the sheet. They smile and shake hands with each other. MARCO RODRIGUEZ, otherwise known as CHIQUIDRACULA, is our referee. It is an all Mexican crew for this match up.

Lineups

Santos: Peralta, Quintero, Cardenas, Rodriguez, Salinas, Lugo, Mares, Baloy, Figueroa, Estrada, Sanchez

Monterrey: de Nigris, Suazo, Solis, Zavala, Ayovi, Corona, Chavez, Basanta, Lopez, Mier, Orozco

First Half is underway!

First: Monterrey is in their traditional dark blue with white piping. Santos is in their white with green cross on the front (an instant classic kit).

Second: Monterrey corner. Chupete to take (still baffles me). A bit of a short corner is flicked on but Santos pushes it out. Santos on the counter. Quintero crosses it in but to no avail! There was a shout for handball in the Santos box before the counter. Replay indicates it did was not a hand ball.

Fourth: The Panamaniac making his presence felt as he separates the ball away from a Monterrey attacker (Solis?). Baloy needs to make his presence more felt this evening. He was surprisingly quiet during the first leg.

Sixth: Peralta snakes through but Bassanta is there to put the ball out for a throw in. Oribe looking dangerous right off the bat is a good sign for Santos.

Eighth: Things of note so far. Baloy looks to be keeping a close eye on Chupete. This game is being played at a much slower pace to start than the first leg. A tactical slow start if you will. Both teams would rather not get caught out of position.

Ninth: Chupete gets the ball in space heads into the box and goes down. He does the Blanco ground girations! The replay indicates he is clearly fouled outside the box but he stayed up until he was in the box. Then he went down making it look all very floptastic. This game is going to be very physical.

Twelfth: Long cross comes in from the wing for Monterrey. Somehow finds Chupete's head (the only blue jersey in the box) and he puts it over the bar. Monterrey looking for Suazo early tonight.

Fifteenth: Santos have a spell of possession but Ayovi manages to play some terrific one on one defense get his man to the sideline and then take the ball from him. Excellent work. If Ayovi is willing to sacrifice is offensive game to do the dirty work Santos is in deep shit.

Sixteenth: Solis with the nice footwork as he gets clear to hit a sweet cross. Surprisingly no one is at the back post.

Seventeenth: Chupete GOES FOR GOAL FROM EXACTLY ONE MILE AWAY! Free kick attempt whistles wide and high but Sanchez was working hard to cover his post.

Eighteenth: Zavala is working hard and winning free kicks for Monterrey. In many ways Zavala is one of the major keys for Monterrey. Their midfield has not exactly been great this year but if he can frustrate Santos into fouls and play the same sort of defense he did last week. Things do not look good for Santos (sense a theme?)

Nineteenth: Chupete gets a quick pass back from Ayovi in the box. He rips a shot at goal but Sanchez is there to save. Nice work from Monterrey to get the shot.

Twentieth: Santos looking all out of sorts once they get possession back. An opportunity was there to release a man into the box but Quintero's pass was too long. No one was happy after that.

Twenty-Third: Quintero hits another pass far to long for Lugo to get on. This one was really bad as he hit that pass about ten yards away from the midfield stripe. Santos need to calm the fuck down.

Twenty-Fourth: Mares tries to catch Orozco off his line from FORTY YARDS OUT! It almost works as Orozco looks beaten but the shot goes wide. And with that Santos seems to have their swagger back.

Twenty-Seventh: Santos wins a corner after a nice attacking sequence. Nothing comes of the corner but Santos is playing significantly better. Moving the ball really well and combining with each other excellently.

Thirtieth: Chupete wins a corner. Ensuing corner easily cleared by Santos. Santos on the break as they like to do after a corner. Nothing came from it but Quintero made a great pass that wasn't handled well by his teammate.

Thirty-First: A mistifying yellow for Basanta. Not sure what Chiqui Dracula saw there. Replay indicates it wasn't much. Free kick for Santos outside of the box.  GOOAA......offsides. Bummer but the correct call. THIS FINALE NEEDS A GOAL. Badly.

Thirty-Fourth: Zavala with a long range shot that is headed out by the Santos defense. Sanchez is VERY PLEASED with his defenders. He had good reason to this thing was mightily struck.

Thirty-Fifth: Orozco comes out to quickly grab a cross. Good keeping to avoid the pressure.

Thirty-Sixth: Baloy with a yellow due to an elbow grazing the precious head of Suazo. This was a bit more legit than the last yellow. There will be less than 22 players on the field at the end of the game.

Thirty-Seventh: Quintero wins the ball from Chupete, drives up the field flicks the ball off to Lugo who backheels it sweetly to Peralta whose shot is snagged out of the air by Orozco. Vintage Santos right there.

Thirty-Eight: GOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL SANTOS~! VAMOS SANTOS~! DARWIN QUINTERO FINISHES! Oribe got the ball flicked it out wide, pass went in looking for Quintero, cut out. Lugo with something that looked like a shot but was actually a pass back into the box to Quintero who finishes nicely. On the first ball to Quintero he looks offsides. I need another look at the play. I'm sure halftime will provide. Halftime replay indicates he was offsides although it was very close. I would have liked to seen it slowed down but in real speed it was very hard to tell.

Forty-Third: Baloy is hatcheted down by Solis in a fucking horrible tackle that could have seen red if his studs even hinted at being up. They didn't so yellow he gets.

HALFTIME

Good half of soccer. Monterrey was the stronger side to start but Santos regrouped and pulled together the better offensive chances as the half wore on. The second half should be something else with Monterrey searching for the equalizer. Away goals are at play here so Monterrey will need two to win. NO EXTRA TIME TONIGHT.

Second half is Underway~!

Monterrey sub: Madrigal on Solis off.

Forty-Seventh: Madrigal just got the stupidest yellow you will ever see. Just reaches out and grabs Estrada flying buy him with the ball. Stupid since he was nowhere near breaking away. Needlessly conceded free kick.

Forty-Eight: Aye Aye! Almost an own goal on Monterrey as Orozco is forced to make a GINORMOUS save. He has to dive to his left and he pushes the ball around the post. Corner for Santos amounts to nothing. SEE STUPID YELLOW CARDS RESULT IN STUPID THINGS.

Fiftieth: Santos with a cross into the box that is headed out for a corner. Santos looking for the kill early here in the second half. Monterrey look like they are asleep. Ensuing corner GOOOAAAALLLLLLLLL SANTOS~! VAMOS SANTOS~! THE MOTHERFUCKING PANAMANIAC FELIP BALOY~! WITH HIS GIANT CABEZA! Hell yes! He holds off two Monterrey players and just snaps a header into the lower corner. FUCKING AMAZING.

Fifty-Second: Orozco forced to make a save off a long blast. Estrada looks to have hit that.  Santos are doing whatever the fuck they want right now. Seriously Monterrey DO NOT JUST LIE DOWN. I really don't want to see a great team like this just sleepwalk through the second half at home.

Fifty-Fourth: Darwin almost bursts through but has the ball tackled away from him at the last minute. Monterrey burst back down the field and find a bit of life as they make a run at goal.

Fifty-Fifth: Monterrey Sub. Meza on. Basanta off  Monterrey goal is under siege. Rodriguez's shot goes just wide.

Fifty-Sixth: Monterrey earn a corner. Fans are freaking out. Corner goes short. Almost cleared out. Chupete gets the ball back and ends up weakly chipping it at the keeper. NOT GOOD ENOUGH CHUPETE (I'm so sorry for saying that. I love you Chupete).

Fifty-Seventh: Monterrey burst into the box but can't make the final pass. They are exploiting Santos' left flank right now. Seems to be providing some punch for them. Unfortunately they can't seem to make the final pass.

Fifty-Ninth: Corner for Monterrey. They are really pushing. Corner is headed wide for a goal kick.

Sixty-First: GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL ALDO DE NIGRIS~! Cross comes in from the wing missing its intended target but there is de Nigris lurking at the far post and he fucking buries it. GAME FUCKING ON! CROWD IS FREAKING OUT.

Sixty-Second: Santos Sub: Gomez on. Cardenas off.

Sixty-Fifth: Quintero gets the ball at the top, stutter steps, slides past the Monterrey defense. Flicks to Lugo whose cross to Gomez is cut out for a throw in.

Sixty-Sixth: Santos Sub: Lugo off. Crosas on. Good game for Lugo.

Sixty-Ninth: Monterrey Sub: Cardozo on. Chavez off.  Chupete is dropping back near the midfield strip for the ball. He wins a free kick for his efforts.

Seventieth: Madrigal gets a talking to. The big man was up front trying to win a header but through some elbows. He is already on a yellow. Prime candidate to get his second tonight.

Seventy-Second: A massive collision between Zavala and Hercules Gomez. Looks like the rammed each others heads together. Wow. Yep they absolutely knocked heads together. and then took a mighty fall. Both men are up and shake hands. GOOD SHOW OF SPORTSMANSHIP MEN!

Seventy-Third: Cross comes in to Madrigal who heads it back into the box where Chupete's outstretched foot just misses the ball. WOW.

Seventy-Fourth: The Panamaniac and de Nigris engage in combat IN THE BOX and this time Baloy wins as he somehow muscles the ball away from Aldo. That was fantastic stuff from both guys.

Seventy-Ninth: Monterrey holding possession. Mostly through Ayovi. de Nigris is very involved. Chupete has been quiet for the last few minutes. While Monterrey still need two goals to win this thing allowing them to have possession for the final thirteen minutes seems like potential suicide considering who there strikers are.

Eighty-Second: Monterrey corner. Corona heads it into the ground it it bounces harmlessly out. Missed opportunity. Santos sub. Cejas on Quintero off. Darwin was a difference tonight for Santos.

Eighty-Third: Monterrey being a bit to fancy. A backheel was tried to no avail and completely disrupted possession.

Eighty-Fourth: Monterrey corner. Weakly cleared out. CARDOZO SITTING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE BOX SHOOTS IT PAST SANCHEZ! GOOOOAAAAALLLLL MONTERREY! Welcome to hell Santos.

Eighty-Fifth: Yellow for Peralta who absolutely butchered someone from Monterrey.

Eighty-Sixth: HIGH DRAMA! Chupete follows up a de Nigris blast that Sanchez spills. Chupete knicks Sanchez head and gets a yellow for his troubles. HOLY FUCK PEOPLE. TREMENDOUS FINAL!

Eighty-Seventh: Baloy with a stupid foul and then does a bit of pushing. Free kick from way out. Chupete over the ball. he chips it in. GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL MONTERREY~!  DE NIGRIS! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME! INCREIBLE! HIS GIANT CABEZA SOCRES! HE SCORED WITH HIS HEAD AND FOOT TONIGHT! AMAZING.

OROZCO GOING CRAZY IN HIS GOAL. FANS HAVE LOST THEIR COLLECTIVE MINDS. GREATEST FINAL IN ALL THE WORLD DELIVERING!

Ninetieth: Ball goes towards Hercules in the box. He is sandwiched between three players. He goes down to no avail. Wasn't a dive he just got beat up on his way to a ball he was never going to get. HOW MUCH STOPPAGE? TRES MINUTOS MAS!!!

Ninety-First: Chupete takes the ball into the box but loses it. TAKE IT TO THE CORNER OLD MAN!

Ninety-Second: CHUPETE GOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL~! BELOVED CHUPETE SCORES TO ICE IT! FUCKING GREATEST FINAL IN ALL THE LAND!!!!! MONTERREY ON THE COUNTER ATTACK AND THEY JUST FUCK UP SANCHEZ WHO COMES OUT AND DOESN'T GET THE BALL. AYE AYE.

Seriously I just lost twenty dollars to Piggott and I give no fucks. This was fucking amazing and I love Chupete. HALLA CHUPETE.

FINAL WHISTLE BLOWS

Classy coaches meet and have a classy conversation. One congratulates, the other gives his condolences. I love both of these teams. Fucking amazing game. You want an argument why a final should be over two legs this is the final to point to. Fucking amazing. Sanchez bummed standing next to his back up keeper. He shrugs in a "what the fuck do you do?" kind of way. Not really his fault as he made some great stops.

Monterrey have shirts that say CAMPEONES on them. WELL FUCKING DESERVED. This Monterrey team is the gold standard that all future CONCACAF Champions will be held to. Winners of three straight. Two of the greatest CCL players in history delivered when the game was on the line. Suazo and de Nigris delivered when their club needed them the most. ABSOLUTE BRILLIANCE.

Trophy ceremony is absolutely increible. Gold confetti is everywhere. Fireworks. So many fireworks. Queen is playing. Basanta lifts the trophy with a hand from Aldo. Chupete has the Chilean flag. Running dive into the corner celebration with the trophy. I LOVE ALL OF THIS~!

Amazing tournament. Incredible final. I will miss you CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. Come back soon.

Love Always,

Gregg