MEXICO CITY, May 23 (Reuters) - Ten-man Monterrey were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Santos Laguna in the first leg of their Mexican championship semi-final after taking an early lead through leading scorer Humberto Suazo.
The Chilean international put Monterrey ahead after nine minutes of Thursday night's game when he latched onto Walter Erviti's pass and chipped the ball over Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez for his 15th goal of the competition.
Monterrey were reduced to 10 men and gave away a penalty nine minutes later when Severo Meza handled in the area and was shown a second yellow card.
But Ricardo La Volpe's team earned a reprieve when Daniel Luduena's shot was saved by Jonathan Orozco.
Santos took control and Orozco saved the hosts again before halftime when he turned away a powerful shot from Ecuador striker Christian Benitez.
Benitez levelled in the 63rd minute after playing a one-two with Matias Vuoso. Santos, who have the better overall record, need only a draw at home on Sunday to reach the final.
Cruz Azul won 1-0 away to San Luis in the other tie played on Wednesday with a first-half goal from Miguel Sabah.