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Toronto FC eliminated from CCL with big loss to Santos

Gomez Santos Laguna (Getty Images)

Things began so well for Toronto FC, but a defensive collapse ended their dreams of becoming the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League.

Toronto FC were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals on Wednesday night, as they gave up four second-half goals to Santos Laguna in a 6-2 loss in the second leg of their semifinals series. Santos advanced on aggregate, 7-3.

Thanks in part to a pair of second-half penalty kicks, Santos fought off a promising start from the visitors to punch their ticket to the final. Joao Plata scored twice in the first half to give Toronto FC the lead in the series, but red-hot forward Herculez Gomez responded both times to up his total to 11 goals scored in his las eight games across all competitions.

Gomez's second goal came just before the end of the first half, hitting a right footed shot to the far post past goalkeeper Milos Kocic.

That set the tone for Santos' second-half offensive explosion. Juan Rodriguez converted two penalty kicks in eight minutes to give the hosts a 4-2 lead.

The first spot kick was awarded in the 55th minute following a foul by Julian De Guzman on Cristian Suarez, and the second came after Miguel Angel Aceval handled the ball following a diving header attempt.

Things got worse for Toronto FC in the 63rd when Oribe Peralta got on the end of a pass from Gomez and finished from close range.

Daniel Luduena capped the scoring in stoppage time for Santos, nailing home a shot from 15 yards out.

The second-half meltdown by Toronto was surprising given how it began the match. Toronto FC looked dangerous on offense in a wide-open affair, and were the first to get on the board when Plata knocked in a rebound following a shot from Luis Silva.

Gomez responded at the halfhour mark, but Plata again gave the visitors the lead with a one-timed shot off a pass from Nick Soolsma in the 42nd minute.

Santos then replied through another Gomez finish in first-half stoppage time, paving the way for the Mexican club's offensive explosion in the second half.

What do you think of Santos' 6-2 win over Toronto? What do you attribute the second-half meltdown to? Hoping Gomez helps Santos to a Champions League final win?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t know where you got that from. That’s not the rule at all.

    The rules pertaining to hand balls are as follows:

    A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following three offences:
    – handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)

    A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offences:
    – denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball

    Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:
    – the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
    – the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
    – the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement

    As you can see, deliberation ALWAYS matters. There is no such thing as an incidental handball, and the rules are no different in the box.

  2. Unfortunately, it was the right call. Aceval was less at fault and more unlucky.

    Any hand to ball contact in the box, even incidental, that changes the course of the ball is a PK.

  3. If by “most euro teams” you are referring to the teams in the lower divisions in lower tier countries.

    Santos or Monterrey would be no better than mid-table in the Championship.

  4. well north america is canada, USA and mexico. so north america has a lot to smile about given mexico’s recent success.


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