Match: CF Monterrey v Santos Laguna
Date: December 5th, 2018
Time: 8:06 PM CDT, 9:06 PM EDT, 6:06 PM PDT
Venue: Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Monterrey, Mexico
Television: Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte in Mexico & Central America, FOX Deportes in the United States
Check Livesoccertv for more information.
Will the third time be the charm for Monterrey?
Monterrey will face Cruz Azul for the third and fourth time this season as Monterrey look to continue their new-found “underdog” status going into a Liguilla. Meanwhile, Cruz Azul will be feeling like the team of destiny, as they face a team that they’ve already beaten twice this season.
The Copa MX final in the Estadio BBVA Bancomer was the most recent result between the two clubs, and both teams had fairly intact rosters. In fact, Monterrey only lost two matches this season in both the Apertura 2018 and the Copa MX that Funes Mori started, and both of them were against Cruz Azul.
Monterrey, however, appear to be finally clicking on all cylinders after getting two clean sheets against Santos Laguna and beating the defending champions in impressive fashion. So the question is, which Monterrey team will show up? The Monterrey team that let in late goals against Necaxa and Lobos BUAP? Or the team that destroyed Club Atlas 3-1 at home and just dominated Santos Laguna over two legs of the quarterfinal?
Monterrey has seemed to finally seemed to find a formation that works, with a hybrid 5-2-1-2 formation that often shifts to a 3-4-3. Rodolfo Pizarro has looked better with a free role behind Funes Mori and Avilés Hurtado, but he also can switch to the wing when the team needs to become a little more defensively responsible. Hurtado has finally looked like himself after battling through injuries all season, and Jose Basanta and Nico Sanchez seem to be clicking with Cesar Montes to form a formidable defensive core.
Ultimately, this Monterrey club will only be judged on their performance in the Liguilla, so toss the regular season records out. The pressure will be on, so will Monterrey rise to the challenge? Or will Cruz Azul continue on their march of destiny towards the final?