Match: Cruz Azul v Monterrey
Date: October 6th, 2018
Time: 5 PM CDT, 6PM EDT, 3PM PDT
Venue: Estadio Azteca
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Monterrey finally pulled out a good result last week after a poor stretch of form by beating Club Tijuana at home. The match was called in the 86th minute because of the conditions on the pitch making the game a farce, but los Rayados already had a commanding 3-0 lead at that point in the match.
Cruz Azul have been the surprise team of the Apertura, spending most of the season in the top position, and they will be looking to reclaim the lead after Santos Laguna won last night over Club Atlas to lay their own stake to the top spot in the table.
Monterrey are still in fourth place with 20 points, and while they don’t have a superior goal difference, a win over Cruz Azul would put them level on points with the CDMX club. Of course, while Monterrey struggled earlier this season, they were missing their top striker and talisman, Rogelio Funes Mori.
The Argentine’s return to the lineup has given a bit of stability to Monterrey, as the club seemed unable to score more than one goal a game and lacked the ability to put teams away, leading to a lot of teams coming from behind in the final minutes of the match to either tie up the score for a draw or get late winners.
Of course, the injury list at Monterrey is still long, with los Rayados captain José Maria Basanta, Rodolfo Pizarro, and Avilés Hurtado all missing for a few more weeks, and with Jonathan Urretaviscaya and Arturo Gonazlez both missing the rest of the season. However, Jesus Gallardo, Dorlan Pabón, Leonel Vangioni, Nico Sanchez, and Jonathan Gonzalez are all still fit, and that’s still a pretty good core of players.
Monterrey can trouble Cruz Azul, but should be looking to grab a draw and try to cement their place in the top four of the table and get home-field advantage for the first round of the Liguilla at this point. The squad is pretty thin, and while it might be nice to win at the Azteca, even if the opponent isn’t Club América, the pitch condition there is downright disgraceful and there is no sense getting yet another player injured. Sometimes taking a point and going back home is a solid strategy, and this might be a case where it might apply.