Concacaf Football - Cruz Azul to meet America in Mexican final

Cruz Azul beat nine-man Santos Laguna 2-1 with two goals from striker Javier Orozco, setting up a Mexican Clausura championship final against America.

Concacaf Football  - Cruz Azul to meet America in Mexican final

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Javier Orozco of Cruz Azul scores against Santos during their Mexican Clausura Tournament semi-final (AFP)

Brilliant 3-0 winners in the first leg, Cruz Azul won 5-1 on aggregate to reach the final against the Mexico City giants, who are looking to equal Guadalajara's record of 11 league titles.

Cruz Azul, chasing a ninth league crown of their own, have won eight of their last nine matches and will be pitting their fine form against America's pedigree.

Orozco opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the semi-final second leg after pouncing on a mistake by defender Rafael Figueroa, then put Cruz Azul further ahead with a header in the 25th minute.

Striker Andres Renteria pulled one back for Santos, Clausura champions a year ago, in the 36th minute but any hope of a fightback were crushed when they had two players sent off in the space of seven minutes, both for second yellow cards.

Darwin Quintero was first to go, in the 51st minute, and defender Felipe Baloy followed him in the 58th.

Cruz Azul substitute Alejandro Vela was shown a red card for diving, his second booking, in the last minute and will miss the final.

America secured their place in the final with Saturday's 2-1 win over Monterrey at the Azteca. They had held CONCACAF champions Monterrey 2-2 in the first leg.

"I think a lot of people will watch the final to push for us not to win. We all know you either hate or love this team," America midfielder Rubens Sambueza said.

"People always talk about us, well or badly ... That's the nicest thing, it means people aren't indifferent towards us and we have to enjoy (our successes) for those who speak badly," said defender Miguel Layun.

Raul Jimenez put America ahead with a 64th minute penalty after defender Jose Basanta had brought down Sambueza.

Striker Cristian Benitez took his tally as the championship's top scorer to 17 with America's second goal seven minutes from time after a one-two with Jimenez. Benitez has scored 30 goals in the season, including 13 in the Apertura.

Striker Aldo de Nigris pulled one back for Monterrey in added time.

La Piedad won promotion to the top flight when they beat Neza 5-3 on penalties in the second division playoff final. They take the place of relegated Queretaro.

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