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Cruz Azul win the Apertura 2018 Copa MX after defeating Monterrey 2-0

Cruz Azul went to Monterrey’s home stadium and won 2-0 behind a goal and an assist from Elias Hernandez

Monterrey v Cruz Azul - Final Copa MX Apertura 2018 Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Monterrey hosted tonight’s Apertura 2018 Copa MX final against Cruz Azul, with both teams looking to grab the first trophy available in Mexico’s Apertura season, as well as get some momentum for the final few weeks before the Liga MX Liguilla.

Despite starting a good blend of experienced first team players with some talented youngsters, Monterrey was not able to win their second Apertura Copa MX in a row, with Cruz Azul looking the better and more composed of the two sides. Cruz Azul might have gotten a tad lucky with their first goal, and Monterrey might have had two close offsides decisions go against them in the first half, but in the end, La Maquina did enough to emerge victorious away from CDMX and take home the Copa.

Rogelio Funes Mori got the first good chance of the game as he was able to take a pass in the Cruz Azul box and get a shot off, but his shot was blocked before it could trouble the Cruz Azul goalkeeper Guillermo Allison.

The first half hour or so was fairly tight, with neither team really going out of its way to commit numbers to the attack. Funes Mori’s blocked shot was the best chance for Rayados, while Milton Caraglio appeared to make the most of some incidental contact in the box.

However, Elias Hernadnez and Cruz Azul would strike first in the 34th minute. A shot rebounded off of the crossbar and it fell directly in the path of the experienced forward, and he made no mistake, putting the ball into the back of the net. A Monterrey defender had tried to get a block in, but the ball could only redirect off of his foot and into the back of the net.

This seemed to spur some life into the match, as both teams now tried to go on the attack. Cruz Azul seemed committed to try and extend their lead while Monterrey tried to find a way back into the match. Monterrey thought they had leveled up the score, but Daniel Lajud’s goal was ruled offside, although the replay made the decision look tight.

A few minutes later, Funes Mori drew a penalty, but he was ruled as offsides before entering the box, meaning that the penalty was voided and Cruz Azul once again was saved by the offside flag. Both decisions were rather tight, but appeared ultimately correct, although it would not have been a surprise to see both decisions stand in other matches.

Monterrey and Cruz Azul went into the break with La Maquina up by a goal over Los Rayados. Of the two sides, Cruz Azul probably deserved to lead a bit more than Monterrey, however Monterrey would have still felt that they deserved to be level, given the number of chances that they had generated as well as having two close decisions go against them.

Cruz Azul struck again, scoring in the 52nd minute behind a good team goal. Hernandez was released into the Monterrey box, and his squared ball found Martin Cauteruccio all alone at the back post for an easy tap-in.

After going down by two goals, Diego Alonso called on the big guns to try and get back into the match. Both Rodolfo Pizarro and Avilés Hurtado came into the match as a defender, Johan Vasquez, was taken off, along with teenager Lajud for the more experienced Hurtado.

José Basanta was also subbed off for Monterrey in the second half after picking up a knock, with Axel Grijalva coming in to replace him in defense in the 64th minute.

Cruz Azul came close to putting a third goal on the board, but Monterrey’s second choice keeper, Juan Pablo Carrizo, made a couple of incredible saves to keep the score at 2-0. Monterrey were leaving themselves a bit vulnerable at the back as they were attempting to pour pressure on the Cruz Azul box, but in the end there were not able to break through the solid Cruz Azul defense.

Cruz Azul saw the rest of the game out, and despite some late chances that came close, Monterrey never really seemed to threaten to get back into the match. In the end, the Monterrey fans witnessed their team lose another trophy at home while Cruz Azul was able to take a trophy back home. Both teams will be looking for the bigger prize of the Liga MX title, but at least for now, Cruz Azul has something to celebrate.