Santos (pictured) celebrates after winning the Liga MX Clausura title on May 31, 2015, in Queretaro, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
QUERETARO, Mexico – Despite a 3-0 loss in the second leg of the 2015 Liga MX Clausura final on Sunday at the Estadio La Corregidora, Santos Laguna held off Queretaro to capture its fifth domestic title, 5-3 on aggregate.
The Guerreros began the evening with a seemingly comfortable cushion after Javier Orozco’s four-goal outburst led to a 5-0 win in the series opener on Thursday.
Things turned interesting, however, when Queretaro -- playing in its first-ever Mexican final -- scored three times in the opening half.
It started early with a Mario Osuna penalty kick in the 10th minute and was followed by a Yasser Corona header 11 minutes later.
When Angel Sepulveda struck in the 38th minute to make it 3-0, the sellout crowd was stirred into a hopeful frenzy.
Brazil legend Ronaldinho entered on the hour mark, giving Gallos Blancos fans even more belief that their side could rally for a historic comeback.
But the deficit proved to be too large and Santos celebrated its first Mexican crown since winning the 2012 Clausura.
It was also the first championship for Portuguese-born manager Pedro Caixinha, who took over the team in the fall of 2012. The Torreon-based club was the lowest seed in the playoffs, knocking off top-seeded Tigres in the quarterfinals and Guadalajara in the semifinals.
NOTES: Club America (2014 Apertura champion), Queretaro (2015 Clausura runner-up), Santos (2015 Clausura champion) and Tigres (2014 Apertura runner-up) will be Mexico’s representatives in the 2015/16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) … It will be Santos’ fifth SCCL appearance, finishing as runner-up in 2011/12 and 2012/13 … Santos forward Javier Orozco is the SCCL’s all-time leading scorer with 24 goals (all with Cruz Azul) … Queretaro will be making SCCL debut later this year.