Monterrey players celebrate following their victory in the second leg.

Monterrey take Apertura 2009 title

Monterrey, Apertura 2009; Pachuca, Apertura 2003; Tecos 1993-94 and Leon 1991-91. He has an exceptional record, while Cruz Azul head coach Enrique Meza, lost his fifth decisive game, the second in a row. Last year, versus Pumas, "Ojitos" lost the Clausura 2009 championship while with Pachuca. He also saw trophies slip away in Invierno 2000 (Toluca), Toros Neza (Verano 1997) and Cruz Azul (1994-95).

Humberto Sauzo was a key player for Vucetich. The Chilean announced a couple of days ago that he was leaving Monterrey, because he wants new adventures in Europe. Aldo De Nigris, who scored vital goals for Rayados, surely played all Liguilla with his "guardian angel" at his side, his brother Antonio, who died of a heart attack at age 31 on Nov. 16. Aldo made great efforts to show strength from weakness and wants to be par of the Mexican national team that will play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa this summer.

Cruz Azul is in a slump. In two years, "The Blue Machine" has advanced to three consecutive finals, but has lost them all. First was Apertura 2008 versus Toluca (Benjamin Galindo as coach), then Clausura 2008 (Sergio Markarian as coach) and now Apertura 2009, offering a serious headache for all Cruz Azul officials and fans.

Despite being the top scorer in all of Mexico, Emanuel Villa put the first nail in Cruz Azul's coffin when he made an own goal (3') in the first leg, just beginning the game at Tecnologico Stadium.

However, Paraguayan Christian Riveros (6' and 17') turned the score for "The Blues" and "Tito" Villa pulled out the thorn (34') in an excellent response in only 45 minutes.

When the second half began, Cruz Azul's attitude changed and gave control of the action to their rival, and Monterrey took advantage of the opportunity.

"Chupete" Suazo (47' and 88') and Sergio Santana (70') put the ball in Jose de Jesus Corona's net and changed the story when the first 90 minutes of the two-legged final ended.

The second leg started with new strategies from Vucetich and Meza at Azul Stadium. The crucial match was played as a chess game in the first half. Nobody was wounded.

But when the second half began, all the strategies were modified when Aldo De Nigris headed the ball to put the score at 1-0 for Monterrey (54').

Cruz Azul tried to come back to the fight when Alejandro Castro (77') equalized the game 1-1, but Suazo beat Jesus Corona in a counterattack when the game was winding down (90'), ensuring a 2-1 win for Rayados in the second leg and a 6-4 win on aggregate.

It is the second time in history that Monterrey celebrated a championship far away from home. In 2003, with Argentinean Daniel Passarella as Manager, Rayados received the trophy at Morelos Stadium in Morelia.

Meanwhile, Cruz Azul will begin a new dream and will try again to win the Mexican tournament that will be changing its name. Clausura will be forgotten for a year and Bicentenario will be the name assigned for 2010 competitions.

Abel Reyes Díaz is a contributor to

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