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Match recap: Cruz Azul 2, Monterrey 1

Plenty of controversy in a wild one at Estadio Azteca as Cruz Azul defeats 10-man Rayados

Cruz Azul v Monterrey - Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

When talking about Liga MX, invariably the conversation shifts to how fun the game is in the league. A perfect example of this sort of enjoyable insanity was on display this evening as Cruz Azul defeated 10-man Monterrey 2-1 at Estadio Azteca.

In the 10th minute, Roberto Alvarado went to clear a ball and when he kicked, he wound up hitting Stefan Medina in the face. Medina was down for several minutes with his nose gushing blood. There was no malice on Alvarado’s part - it was a bit of a freak accident, so no card was issued. Medina would come back into the game a few minutes later.

Moments after Medina came back on, Monterrey was awarded a free kick about 35 yards out. Dorlan Pabón hit a powerful kick that was headed past Cruz Azul goalkeeper Chuy Corona by César Montes to give Rayados the lead in the 16th minute. The goal did not come without cost though, as it appeared that Montes twisted his ankle and was carried off of the field.

Just minutes after that, Igor Lichnovsky was pulled down by Leonel Vangioni and a penalty was awarded. Elías Hernández would step up and convert, shooting to his left while Rayados goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero dove to Hernández’ right.

As if that wasn’t enough, on the restart, Rogelio Funes Mori went up for a header and was judged to have elbowed Iván Marcone in the throat and was shown a straight red card.

Things settled down a bit after the insanity of the first 25 minutes. Cruz Azul’s man advantage forced Rayados to slow the tempo of the game down and be more deliberate in their attack. Cruz Azul on the other hand tried to break as often as possible on the counterattack, exploiting the numbers to create chances. Monterrey was able to hold fast however, keeping their defense deep to compensate.

In the second half, it was more of the same. Down a man, Monterrey was loathe to press forward unless they had a clear advantage in order to watch for the Cruz Azul attack. Cruz Azul was very patient in their attack, retaining possession and more often than looking to go side-to-side than directly at the net in order to look for openings.

In the 60th minute Rayados finally were able to make a break but Chuy Corona stood tall, making a close-range save on an onrushing Dorlan Pabón and then making a save on the rebound that was put back on frame by Nicolás Sánchez.

In the 71st minute, Leonel Vangioni would pick up a yellow card outside of the box to the left of Barovero. Adrián Aldrete hit the free kick perfectly, and Edgar Méndez would get his head on the ball and catch Barovero cheating the wrong way to give La Maquina the 2-1 lead.

Rayados would try and create some pressure by bringing on Avilés Hurtado, who had missed the previous few weeks injured. In the end though Cruz Azul’s man advantage proved too much for the visitors to come back from and La Maquina would emerge victorious on the evening.

Both teams will have off next week due to the international break. When they return, Cruz Azul will head to Querétaro to face Los Gallos Blancos on Satruday, October 20th. Monterrey’s next game is also against Querétaro, however it’s a Copa MX match on Tuesday. Their next Liga MX match is Sunday, October 21st when they host Toluca.

Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona; Adrián Aldrete, Pablo Aguilar, Igor Lichnovsky, Julio César Domínguez; Iván Marcone (Andrés Renteria, 61’), Rafael Baca, Roberto Alvarado, Edgar Méndez; Eliás Hernández (Javier Salas, 85’). Martín Cauteruccio (Martín Zúñiga, 90+1’)

Monterrey: Marcelo Barovero; Stefan Medina, Jesús Molina (Avilés Hurtado, 73’), Nicolás Sánchez, César Montes (Johan Vásquez, 18’); Leonel Vangioni (Luis Madrigal, 80’), Celso Ortíz, Jonathan González, Jesús Gallardo; Dorlan Pabón, Rogelio Funes Mori

Scoring: Cruz Azul - Eliás Hernández (21’ - penalty), Edgar Méndez (71’); Monterrey - César Montes (16’)

Disciplinary: Cruz Azul - Rogelio Funes Mori (Red - 23’), Martín Cauteruccio (Yellow - 86’); Monterrey - Leonel Vangioni (Yellow - 71’), Johan Vásquez (Yellow - 90’)