Posted on August 28, 2012
TORONTO — Santos Laguna struck for a pair of 11th-hour goals to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a 3-1 victory over Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
Daniel Luduena tallied in the 90th minute and second-half Candido Ramirez added an insurance goal two minutes into stoppage time to lift Santos to a Group 1 win.
The two late goals and shoddy defending by Toronto spoiled an excellent performance by goalkeeper Freddy Hall. The Bermuda keeper made eight saves, several of them vital ones to keep the Canadian club in the game, which was a rematch of the 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League semifinals series. Santos prevailed in that aggregate-goal confrontation.
“There’s nowhere near that was a 3-1 game,” Toronto coach Paul Mariner told reporters afterwards. “I thought we were a little tentative the first half. I thought the second half we were much better. They’re a very good team and we matched them for 89 minutes.”
If Toronto fans are superstitous, they might want to blame a black cat that ran onto the field while Hall made a save on Ramirez in the 84th minute, because after that Toronto went down hill before a crowd of 10,951.
After Santos’ Felipe Baloy slammed a header off the post in the 89th minute, Luduena scored the game-winner only seconds later. He did a quick give-and-go with Mexican Olympic hero Oribe Peralta while the Toronto defense watched him run freely in the area before placing his shot past Hall.
With Toronto trying for the equalizer two minutes later, Ramirez, who replaced U.S. international striker Herculez Gomez in the 77th minute, gave the visitors breathing room as he fired home a left-footer from the left side of the penalty area into the lower right corner.
“From my viewpoint it’s just annoying and frustrating,” Mariner said. “The game is never over and 2-1 is not a done deal. At 2-1 you can still get something. . . . I just wanted us to keep playing the same way we played for 89 minutes, which wasn’t bad.”
Mariner refused to blame the black cat.
“No, I’ve got a black cat at home, I love black cats,” he said. “And for the record, it’s a she and her name is Stuart, named after Stuart Pearce.”
Pearce is a former England international.
Barely four minutes after he had replaced Eric Hassli at halftime, Darwin Quintero made his presence felt, taking a Marc Crossas feed and beating goalkeeper Freddy Hall on the near post on the right side for a 1-0 Santos lead.
Another second-half sub equalized for the hosts in the 68th minute. Quincy Amarikwa, who replaced Edgar Lugo at the half, had a close encounter in the 51st minute, when he somehow missed Andrew Wiedeman’s feed from the right side of the penalty area from point-blank range at the back post.
But he made up for his miss 17 minutes later as he slotted home a 12-yard shot past goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez for a a 1-1 deadlock.
These two teams will play in Mexico on Oct. 24.
Photo: Daniel Luduena connected for the game-winner for Santos Laguna. Wade Jackson/YCJ
Categories: Canada, Champions League, Mexico, North America
Tags: BMO Field, Candido Ramirez, CONCACAF Champions League, Daniel Luduena, Eric Hassli, Oribe Peralta, Quincy Amarikwa, Santos Laguna, Toronto FC