Monterrey hosted Zacatepec in Mexico’s Copa MX tonight, in a rescheduled round of 16 match from last week. The rain had made the pitch unplayable, forcing the referee to call off the match and postpone the match until this week, leaving this match as the last of the round of 16 matches and a full week behind everyone else still in the competition.
Daniel Lajud went close twice in the first 15 minutes, as he was flagged for offsides twice after putting the ball into the back of the net. He was far offsides for the first play, but on the second play, he timed his run perfectly with a pass that came off a defender, after which he was able to dig the ball out from the clutches of the Tacatepec keeper and slot the ball home. Replays showed that he was onsides when the original ball was played in, but the assistant referee appeared to have not seen him onsides and the flag went up.
However, in the 20th minute, los Rayados were able to draw a penalty as Carlos Rodriguez was fouled in the box on a counter-attack from a Zacatepec corner kick. Rodriguez, admittedly did make the most of the contact, but contact did occur, so the penalty was correctly given and Monterrey took the lead over the Ascenso side in the 20th minute behind Nico Sanchez’s second penalty kick in as many matches, as Sanchez had scored an important penalty for Monterrey’s good win over Club Tijuana over the weekend.
Dainel Lajud scored a golazo in the 27th minute, as Rayados looked to extend their lead and put Zacatepec behind them. Lajud took a headed ball on to his left foot, bought himself a half-yard or so of space and sent a shot that curved up and over the Zacatepec keeper, leaving him rooted to his spot, unable to stop the shot that found the upper right hand corner of the net.
Zacapetec would pull one back in the 32nd minute, but Monterrey would put themselves back up two goals two minutes later after Jesus Gallardo took on the other keeper after some brilliant build-up play by Eric Cantu had sprung Gallardo, and the Mexico international was able to beat his defender with the ball at his feet and he beat the keeper from close range.
The half ended with los Rayados up 3-1, and they were looking to cruise past their opponents into the next round with relative ease.
The second half started with the play largely the same, and Gallardo was taken off for Leonel Vangioni in the 65th minute as Diego Alonso looked to get some of his regular first-team players some rest ahead of the weekend’s match against Cruz Azul.
However, Zacatepec would have other plans, and refused to just allow the hosts ease their way into the next round. Zacatepec scored off a corner kick to add some nerves to the Monterrey faithful.
Edson Gutierrez went down injured a few minutes later and he was taken off on a cart. The last thing Monterrey needs is another long-term injury, so let’s hope that the cart was just a precaution.
Alonso appeared to decide to take the threat from Zacatepec seriously and brought on both Rogelio Funes Mori and Dorlan Pabón in the 72nd minute in order to see the match out and hopefully send Monterrey on to the next round of the Copa MX.
After Funes Mori had been flagged a couple times for offsides, Pabón hit the crossbar in the 89th minute as Monterrey looked for another goal to finish off the match. Pabón also had a long free kick that was spilled in the box in stoppage time, but an onrushing Monterrey player couldn’t quite get to the ball before it was collected by the Zacatepec keeper.
After some disagreements between the two sets of players, and a yellow card for time-wasting on a free kick, Pabón scored a stoppage time insurance goal seconds before full-time to take the score up to 4-2.
Monterrey will now move on to the quarterfinals of the Copa MX where they will face off against Querétaro.