MEXICO CITY: Former Argentina coach and captain Daniel Passarella silenced his critics at the weekend by leading Monterrey to the Mexican championship semi-finals for the first time in seven years.
Veteran striker Luis Hernandez sent surprise package Veracruz, known as the Red Sharks, (Tiburones Rojos) into the last four of the Clausura tournament while defending champions Toluca were knocked out by UNL.
Monterrey, who failed to make the knockout stages of last year's Apertura tournament in their first championship under Passarella, overcame Atlas 3-2 to complete a 4-3 aggregate win.
Passarella's compatriot Guillermo Franco scored twice in the first-half for Monterrey before Atlas hit back after halftime through Juan Pablo Garcia and Juan Pablo Rodgriguez.
Ivan Huitron's 73rd minute strike rescued Monterrey and earned them a semi-final against arch-rivals UNL, who also threw away a two-goal lead in their 2-2 draw with Toluca but went through thanks to their 2-1 win in the first leg.
Brazilians Kleber and Alex Mineiro gave the Tigers a 2-0 halftime lead before Toluca hit back through Paraguayan Jose Cardozo, who scored his 21st goal of the championship, and Argentine Ariel Franco.
Hernandez, who played for Mexico in the 1998 World Cup, converted a 51st minute penalty to give Veracruz a 1-0 win at Atlante for a 2-1 aggregate victory.
They will face Morelia, who beat Guadalajara 4-2 for a 5-3 aggregate win. – Reuters