Guadalajara beat Toluca to win Apertura final

December 10, 2006

MEXICO CITY, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Guadalajara, Mexico's most popular club, won the Apertura championship in dramatic style on Sunday by coming from behind to beat Toluca 2-1 away in the second leg of the final.

Second half goals from defender Francisco Rodriguez and striker Adolfo Bautista gave the Chivas, the only first division team not to field foreigners, a record 11th title and the first since flamboyant businessman Jorge Vergara bought the club in 2002.

Toluca had started as favourites after holding on for a 1-1 draw away in last week's first match and looked set to win the title when championship leading scorer Bruno Marioni opened the scoring with his 14th goal of the competition.

Vicente Sanchez sent over a cross from the right and the Argentine headed the Red Devils in front in the 18th minute to the delight of their famous army of shirtless fans behind the goal at the Bombonera stadium.

Guadalajara, who formed the backbone of Mexico's squad at the World Cup in Germany, refused to be intimidated and hit back seven minutes after halftime as two of their internationals combined.

Ramon Morales floated over a free kick from the right which the lanky Rodriguez met with a flying header at the near post.

Toluca goalkeeper Hernan Cristante made an excellent save to deny Alberto Medina in the 67th minute but was powerless two minutes later as striker Adolfo Bautista scored the winner with a shot from outside the penalty area.

Toluca, coached by Argentina's 1978 World Cup winning midfielder Americo Gallego, missed an excellent chance to equalise when Ariel Rosada headed straight at goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.

Guadalajara last won the title nine years ago when they were champions of the 1997/98 Invierno championship. They had previously been tied on 10 titles with America, their great rivals.

The Mexican federation only counts league titles won since the 1943/44 season when football in the country turned professional. America won an additional four titles before then, all in the 1920s.

Since the 1996/7 season, two separate championships have been played in the Mexican season.