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Leon roars at the Nou Camp in home leg

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Leon FC almost razed over Club Santos Laguna at the Nou Camp in the home leg of the Apertura 2013 semifinals of La Liga MX. The word is “almost” because the Leon defense allowed a compensation time goal for the final 3-1.

The game was on-sided as the “panzas verdes” took over their pitch and played as they pleased. Leon never game up control of the ball for longer than a few passes keeping Santos at bay. The visiting squad was buried on their side of the field, not because they were playing a defensive game, but because Leon was relentless on their attack.

Carlos “Gulit” Peña was solid in the midfield, demonstrating to the spectators why rumors are emerging that he’s being followed by clubs in Europe. Peña was a powerful machine plowing through the Santos defense with ease.

It took 35 minutes for Leon to get on the board. Jose Vasquez took the ball outside the area and fired it with full force. He aimed for the top corner of goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez’ net. The keeper had little time to react and began his dive from the middle of his net. The ball found the top corner, inches away from the former Chivas de Guadalajara keeper’s gloves. The Leon fans exploded with the 1-0.

Despite getting on the board, Leon did not ease off on their attack. La Fiera continued to push forward wanting to liquidate the game before traveling to Torreon for the return leg. Luis Montes missed a shot by inches after the ball rolled past Sanchez. Then, Uruguayan Matias Britos shot from outside. But Oswaldo dove to stop the ball from entering his net. However, the Germany 2006 goalkeeper for Mexico did not control the ball. “Gulit’ Peña ran in and shot the rebound into the net for the 2-0.

Leon looked unstoppable and at this pace, Santos would need divine intervention to advance to the final. But the home side gave up control of the field in the opening minutes of the second half. Pedro Caixinha’s team was looking to put at least one goal on the board before returning to the TSM Corona next Sunday.

Then the home side came back to life, but could only control the ball and generate danger without putting it in the net. In the 70th minute Leon sealed the game. Eisner Loboa put Leon up 3-0, a score that would be difficult to remount for any team.

Caixinha decided to put his cards on the table and made an aggressive move putting Javier “Chuletita” Orozco on the field. Like many times this season, Orozco responded. One minute into compensation, with a brief drop of concentration from the home side, Orozco received a pass in the area and headed the ball into the net for the final 3-1. The goal is worth gold for the “Mexican hoops” as they head home for the return leg.

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