Monterrey won the CONCACAF Champions League final after Humberto Suazo’s crucial goal in the second leg of the final against Real Salt Lake.
The Chilean frontman’s strike in the shadows of half-time at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah was enough to split the two clubs, who had played out a 2-2 draw in Mexico in the first leg last Wednesday.
The 1-0 result ensured the Mexican side took the two-legged final tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Major League Soccer club Real would have received plenty of confidence after returning home with the credible 2-2 result in the first leg, and they began Wednesday’s clash the better outfit against their Mexican opposition.
The absence of midfield lynchpin Kyle Beckerman – suspended after picking up a yellow card in the first leg – did not seem to faze the home side as they dictated early play.
But chances were few for the MLS side, and Monterrey worked their way back into the encounter before shocking Real with Suazo’s goal.
Suazo played a neat one-two with strike partner Sergio Santana with the Salt Lake defence scrambling back into position, before firing his shot past goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
The hosts began the second half with renewed vigour as they looked to overturn the deficit, and Canada international Will Johnson fired over from distance on 62 minutes in a sign of his side’s intent.
Alvaro Saborio headed a corner straight at Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathon Orozco, but it summed up a match in which things rarely came off for the Costa Rica forward and his strike partner Fabian Espindola.
Real upped their desperation as the match ticked over into extra time, with Orozco almost paying the price for his unconvincing flap at a cross that nearly allowed Argentine midfielder Javier Moralez to level.
But the fringe Mexico shot-stopper stood tall moments after to paw away a final goal-bound effort, with referee Roberto Moreno confirming Monterrey’s triumph just seconds later.
The win continues the dominance of Mexican clubs in the competition, with Monterrey’s victory the 27th occasion the trophy has landed in Mexican hands.
It is Monterrey’s first Champions League victory, extending the winning run of Mexican clubs to six seasons in succession.
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