Los Rayados traveled to CDMX to take on Club América in the Estadio Azteca tonight, as the capitol club looked to end the winning streak of the visitors from Nuevo Leon. Unfortunately for Monterrey fans, thanks to a good goal from America, and some poorly timed tackles from Los Rayados, Monterrey played 60 minutes with 10 men after going down in the 23rd minute. América rode their early goal and man-advantage to a comfortable win that could have seen Las Águilas easily score a few more goals.
The pitch at the Estadio Azteca left much to be desired, as there was large patches of mud and dirt without a single blade of grass growing. It must be said that it was a bad look for América to have such a bad pitch in what will probably be the most-watched match of the weekend.
Diego Alonso, Monterrey’s manager, moved Rodolfo Pizarro to a more central position behind Aviles Hurtado, as the manager looked to find the way to get the best out of one of most high-profile acquisitions of the summer in Mexico.
The first few minutes were pretty back and forth, with plenty of action as both teams tried to work out exactly what their opportunities would be from.
In what would become a theme of the first half, Pizarro hacked down Diego Lainez with a bad tackle in the 11th minute. Monterrey, unusually, started to lose control of the ball and possession, and started to make questionable tackles.
Club América earned the bulk of the chances in the first half-hour or so, with a few free kicks from fouls and a couple corner kicks went their way.
América were rewarded in the 23rd minute as they struck directly from a bad turnover by Los Rayados in the offensive zone. Las Águilas struck immediately, with Roger Martinez making Basanta look slightly silly as he blew past him in the box, and his shot to the far corner left Barovero rooted to his spot.
Monterrey started to try and look for an equalizer, but still found it challenging to keep anything resembling consistent pressure. They would make it more challenging for themselves in the 30th minute, as Stefan Medina would see red for his second yellow card of the night.
Monterrey seemed to try and grab a lifeline after the red card, as their play seemed to improve for the rest of the first half. A few attacking efforts were attempted, although nothing really seemed to challenge América’s keeper Marchesin very much at all. Hurtado went close in the 43rd minute, but his shot went just wide.
Monterrey went into half-time trailing América 1-0 and down to ten men and on the road at the Azteca.
After Barovero did a great job to stop an almost certain goal from Mattias Uribe after América got free in the box and showed patience to set up a quality shot after some good passing. However, the ball was turned out into touch for a corner kick and all the good work that Barovero did was for naught as no one marked Bruno Valdez and his bullet header was unable to be stopped as it flew into the net to give América the 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.
Alonso brought on two attacking players in the 56th minute to try and claw back into the match, bringing on Dorlan Pabón and Luis Madrigal for Jonathan Urretaviscaya and Leonel Vangioni.
Barovero continued to save good chances, and Monterrey still found the match difficult to get any traction going forward as América used their numerical advantage to slow down the match and keep control of the match.
Muy cerca el 3-0: Varguitas revienta el poste de tiro libre pic.twitter.com/PssRP9r5ca— Club América (@ClubAmerica) August 12, 2018
América came close to a third in the 80th minute from a free kick that hit the post and bounced out, only to get their third goal about five minutes later after Barovero was forced into taking down Renato Ibarra in the box. Andrés Ibargüen made no mistake from the spot and América took a well-earned 3-0 lead over Monterrey.
Whatever urgency Monterrey had seeped out onto the garbage pitch after the penalty, as it seemed that both teams just were going through the motions for the rest of the match. After two minutes of stoppage time, in which neither team really challenged each other very much, the whistle blew and Monterrey suffered their first loss of the season.
Coming back at the Azteca isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, given the altitude and the usual quality of América, but playing with 10 men for 60 minutes meant that Monterrey’s ill-discipline dug themselves a hole that they were unable to overcome.