Monterrey topples Toluca to reach Mexican finals

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Monterrey closed out its semifinal series against Toluca in impressive manner on Sunday as los Rayados held the high-flying Diablos Rojos to a 1-1 draw, a result that sent Monterrey through to the Apertura 2009 finals.

The visitors left with a 3-1 aggregate-series victory over Toluca and reached their first league final since losing to Diablos in the Apertura 2005 finale. Monterrey will play Cruz Azul in the finals.

Abraham Dario Carreño provided Monterrey's offense with a late goal and a late Toluca rally amounted to one goal, an ultimately meaningless Isaac Brizuela strike.

Toluca lost out despite a tremendous regular-season record, finishing atop the league with 35 points and having been shut out just once during the regular season. But all that amounted to little on Sunday as Rayados took down the mighty Diablos in their own home.

The match featured plenty of drama but little offense in the first half. The lone clear chance was generated by Monterrey's Walter Ayovi, who raced down the left side of the field and found Humberto "Chupete" Suazo in the penalty area. Suazo attempted a half-volley but saw the ball sail high over the crossbar.

Later in the half, Toluca's Israel Lopez had a free kick but missed the goal by mere inches.

Suazo had another chance in the first half as he ran down the right side of the box and aimed for the far post but Toluca's Alfredo Talavera dived and got enough of the ball to force it wide.

Toluca did not play with much more urgency in the opening stages of the second half as it had closed out the first half.

In the 71st minute, Monterrey finally made Toluca pay for its lack of finishing. Ayovi again started the play as he sent a ball into the middle of the box. Former Toluca forward Sergio Santana tried to get to the ball but Talavera came off his line to try and reach it as well. Instead, it was Carreño who reached it first and easily knocked the ball into an open net.

Toluca tried to answer. Brizuela pounced on a loose ball in the middle of the box and knocked it into the back of the net.

But that was the lone highlight for Toluca as the day belonged to Monterrey.