Liga MX

Advantage Tigres in Mexican final

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Tigres gained a crucial advantage of the Mexican Apertura final with an exciting 1-0 away victory against 10-man Santos Laguna in the opening leg.

Damian Alvarez scored an early goal for the visitor but matters were made worse for Santos Laguna when Juan Pablo Rodriguez was sent off midway through the first half.

The home side started brightly as Carlos Darwin Quintero's shot was deflected wide for a corner by Juninho.

But Tigres, unchanged from the side that defeated Queretaro in the semifinal second leg,  surged into the lead in the eighth minute.

Hector Mancilla slipped a neat throughball into the area for Alvarez, who jinked his way past Jorge Estrada before unleashing a fierce left-footed shot which goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez could only palm in off the far post.

Moments later, Carlos Salcido tested Sanchez with a fierce left-footed shot which the Santos keeper did well to push round the post.

It was not all one-way traffic though as the home side went close to an equalizer minutes later when Oribe Peralta struck the crossbar.

But the host's hopes were dealt a massive blow in the 22nd minute when Rodriguez was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge which caught Manuel Viniegra in the groin.

However, as half-time approached Santos spurned a superb chance to level the tie when Christian Suarez squared a low cross from the left but the outstretched Quintero could only get a toe to the ball as the chance went begging.

In an error-strewn second half Santos could have extened its lead further in the final five minutes but Peralta could not quite reach Jaime Cardenas' cross.

Tigres will now be the clear favourites to claim the title in the second leg back in Monterrey on Sunday evening.

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