Monterrey played at Puebla in Mexico’s Liga MX tonight, as los Rayados were searching for a win to send them top of the table, while Puebla were hoping to once again deny Monterrey a win at the Estadio Cuauhtémoc.
Monterrey got an early chance with a free kick on the right hand side in the 7th minute, with Dorlan Pabon taking the kick, but the ball flew too close to the keeper and he was able to snag it and prevent any additional danger,
Los Rayados came clsoe in the 12th minute from a corner kick, as Rodolfo Pizarro got to the ball near the far post with the ball at his feet, but his shot was turned behind for another corner kick that felt flat.
Jesus Gallardo was hauled down in the box, but no foul was called, despite Gallardo looking like he ended up hurt from the exchange. The resulting corner kick was once again wasted, as Monterrey didn’t manage a shot on net.
Puebla had a chance in the 18th minute, but a free kick from the left hand side was always rising and flew over the net. Puebla would come close again in the 21st minute, once again finding some space down Monterrey’s right, but the cross was wild and ended up going out of bounds without a Puebla player within five yards of the ball.
After Medina had committed an ugly foul that earned him a yellow card in the 24th minute, he was subbed off for Eric Cantú.
Monterrey got a quality change in the 29th minute, as they had a free header from a corner kick, but the header was straight at the goalkeeper, and Monterrey started to up the pressure. Rodolfo Pizarro tried an improbable attempt at goal with a cheeky backheel from the penalty spot, but the shot, predictably, went wide.
Luis Madrigal saved Monterrey’s blushes in the 42nd minute, after he was able to stay onside, as a trailing Puebla defender prevented him from being offside from Alives Hurtado’s excellent pass. Madrigal, not exactly known for his footspeed, was nonetheless able to bear down on the goal all alone, and he made no mistake and sent the ball past the Puebla keeper.
Monterrey went into halftime with a somewhat deserving 1-0 lead, but los Rayados needed to do a better job of converting chances if they were going to keep this lead and not surrender another late goal.
Monterrey seemed to start the second half a little on the back foot, as Puebla was able to get a few attempts on goal. A good chance had to be turned behind for a corner kick by Jesus Gallardo in the 48th minute, but the resulting corner came to nothing as a Puebla attacker was offsides.
Monterrey were put under pressure in the 54th minute after barely being able to clear a ball into the box. But after some shambolic efforts, that included heading the ball backwards and failing to clear the ball into touch behind the goal, the ball was finally cleared and Puebla hacked down both Hurtado and Pizarro, resulting in a free kick for los Rayados and yellow card for Puebla’s Rodriguez.
Hurtado was put through on goal after a bad header from a Puebla player sent the Colombian free and one-on-one with the keeper. However, Hurtado got too close to the diving keeper and he was able to grab the ball and send Hurtado sprawling to the ground.
Puebla appeared to have drawn level with Monterrey in the 62nd minute, but the referee ruled that the ball had gone out of bounds earlier in the attacking movement, and from replays it appeared that it was indeed the case.
Pizarro almost opened his Monterrey account in the 67th minute off of a corner kick, but his acrobatic attempt went straight at the keeper, keeping off the scoresheet yet again despite having another decent chance at a goal.
Puebla was able to draw level for real in the 69th minute, as Pizarro dribbled into trouble in his own penalty box, which resulted in a turnover, and after some quick passing, Puebla’s Christian Tabó scored.
Monterrey absolutely should have scored a few minutes later as three Monterrey players had the ball at their feet in the penalty box. Nonetheless, one of the players was sitting on the ground, and while he had the ball at his feet, none of the other players were able to dig the ball out and get a shot on goal. As a result, the ball was somehow cleared away, and Madrigal seemed to fall over Gallardo, as both of them went for the ball.
The Monterrey manager was sent to the stands a few minutes later after he expressed his frustration with how the match was being officiated, and Puebla tried to turn the screws and searched for a winner in the final 10 minutes.
Jonathan Gonzalez was taken off for Jonathan Urretaviscaya in the 77th minute as los Rayados also searched for a winner. Nico Sanchez appeared to take a knock late on, and Cesar Montes was subbed on for him in the 88th minute.
Both sides appeared to be searching for a late goal, but Monterrey seemed a little more on the back foot, as Puebla seemed to feel hard done by because of the disallowed goal. Monterrey also seemed to be wearing down the longer the match went on, as fatigue and altitude seemed to take its toll on the Monterrey players.
Con gol de último minuto de Lucas Cavallini, a los 93' @ClubPueblaMX derrota 2-1 a @Rayados en duelo de la #Jornada8 #Apertura2018 de la #LIGABancomerMX— LIGA Bancomer MX (@LIGABancomerMX) September 1, 2018
⚽ #SienteTuLiga ⚽ #AbrazadosPorElFutbol pic.twitter.com/KJ1NmDDXtg
Instead of Monterrey scoring a dramatic, late goal to win the match, as they have done multiple times this season, this time it was Puebla’s turn. Monterrey, once again, did a poor job of defending in the box, and José Basanta was beaten to the ball by Lucas Cavallini, who was able to slam the ball into the back of the net with the last kick of the game.
Monterrey will now have to figure out how to stop their poor play during the international break. Although they are still in a good position in the Liga MX table, that can change in a blink of an eye. Monterrey have been living, and dying, with dramatic, late goals and with headed goals by Nico Sanchez from set pieces, none of which are sustainable in the long run. Either Funes Mori comes back, fully fit, after the international break or this team’s goal of a Liga MX title this season will not come to fruition.