Veracruz traveled to Nuevo Leon in Mexico, looking to add misery to Monterrey, who lost the Copa MX final at home to Cruz Azul earlier this week, while los Rayados looked to regroup after their loss and deal some misery of their own on Veracruz, who are the bottom team in the Liga MX table.
Monterrey appeared to have a rather thrown-together lineup in what appeared to a 4-3-3, with Jesus Gallardo, Dorlan Pabón, and Avilés Hurtado in the lineup, all of which usually play on the wing. In addition to those three, Rodolfo Pizarro and Luis Madrigal were also in the starting XI, with Celso Ortiz the only usually recognized central midfielder in the lineup, along with Nico Sanchez, Leonel Vangioni, Edson Gutierrez, and Jesus Molina on the backline.
Veracruz went close early on, with the post saving Marcelo Barovero’s blushes as the ball went beyond his outstretched arms and bounced harmlessly back into the box within the first couple minutes of the match.
Jesus Molina was forced off before the 10th minute with what appeared to be an injury, which will only add to an already significant injury list for Monterrey this season.
Veracruz would start off the match looking to try and force an upset, as they went on the offensive in the first few minutes of the match, but Monterrey seemed to take control of the match after an early flurry from los Tiburones Rojos.
Monterrey would score first on an absolute golazo from Rodolfo Pizarro. Monterrey took the ball on a throw-in and after a couple passes, no one closed down Pizarro as he turned towards goal from about 25 yards out. Pizarro’s shot dipped and caused problems for the Veracruz keeper, who appeared to be caught out of position on the shot to the near post. While a near-post shot is never good to give up, especially from that distance, it appeared that the Veracruz keeper was preparing for a cross or pass to a player on the far post and was also shielded a bit by a central defender in front of him.
The goal was exactly what Monterrey needed, as they continued to enjoy the bulk of the possession of the ball, albeit without a lot of creativity or attempts on goal to show for their possession.
Monterrey would go into the break up by a goal and looking to extend their lead in the second half, but would once again start slow. However, just as in the first half, Monterrey was able to limit Veracruz and kept them from getting good scoring chances, waiting for the right moment to pounce.
Monterrey would pounce again. This time on a counter-attack in the 70th minute as Dorlan Pabón would take a pass down the right hand channel, and after streaking down the pitch, put an inch-perfect pass past the last defender and right in front of Jesus Gallardo, who took a few touches, waited for the Veracruz keeper to commit, and then buried the shot for Monterrey’s second goal.
The second goal seemed to take the wind of the sails for Veracruz. Monterrey slowed the game down, looking to ride out a good result and go ahead of their rivals Tigres in the table, going up to 6th place and level on points with Deportivo Toluca, who drew with Club América, and also level on points with Pumas UNAM, who are in action tomorrow.
In the end, it wasn’t the most exciting match in the world, but a moment of genius from Pizarro ensured victory for Monterrey and made life even more difficult for Veracruz, who are moored on the bottom of the table with little hope to climb back up.