Los Rayados de Monterrey traveled to central Mexico to take on Queretaro today, with the hosts looking to pick up their first win in the Clausura, while Monterrey looked to put the bitter taste of surrendering two late goals to Leon behind them with a win on their first travels of the Clausura 2019.
Monterrey started out the game looking a tad disjointed and a little out of step, and you would have been hard-pressed to figure which of the teams was without a win in the Clausura and which team was undefeated for the first few minutes of the match.
Los Gallos Blancos de Queretaro appeared to shrug off the first few attacks from Monterrey, and while los Rayados tried to put a stamp on the match, they seemed out of step almost the entire first half.
One of the biggest examples of the sloppy play by Monterrey was the foul that gave Camilo Sanvezzo a free kick from a dangerous area. And while the foul itself might have been a tad sloppy, everyone from Monterrey staring at the ball as it crashed off of the post and hit a statuesque Marcelo Barovero was the most troubling part of the play.
Monterrey were extremely lucky to have not given up a goal in the 13th minute, and while they came back on the attack and put some decent pressure on the Queretaro goal, they were unable to get anything past the keeper.
The attacks from Monterrey were largely one-off individual efforts, as it still often appeared that the team was unable to be patient in possession and commit themselves to build-up play, instead relying on individual efforts to drive the match forward.
Queretaro took the lead at the half-hour mark through a very well-taken header from Sanvezzo, as he slid into the six yard box and was all alone in front of Barovero. It appeared that Cesar Montes and Leonel Vangioni failed to communicate with each other. The goal was initially incorrectly waved off for offsides, but after consulting VAR the goal stood.
Halftime saw Queretaro up 1-0 and Monterrey needing something to jump start the team and get them to wake up.
It appeared that Monterrey might have had just that wake-up call in the 55th minute as Jesus Gallardo scored an absolute golazo from a good distance out. Gallardo came down the left hand side of the channel and fired a shot via nutmeg that beat the keeper and went into the back of the net, leaving the keeper with little to no chance.
The celebrations wouldn’t last very long, however, because less than five minutes later, Vangioni would get sent off for a high boot as he closed down Sanvezzo as the Brazilian charged on goal.
Queretaro would come close on a couple different occasions and after the sending off, Diego Alonso would sub on Maximilano Meza, the Argentina international, and Edson Gutierrez for Avilés Hurtado and Dorlan Pabón in the 67th minute. Putting on Meza almost immediately seemed to lift the team, as his free kicks seemed to almost immediately create danger for Queretaro.
Nico Sanchez missed an open header from a free kick in the 77th minute, and it appeared that the match was headed for a draw. That was until Meza announced his arrival in Liga MX with a very, very good golazo in stoppage time to send the traveling Monterrey supporters into ecstasy and leave the Queretaro supporters stunned. Gallardo got the ball in the box and rather than try and put it into the mixing bowl in front of net, he passed it back to Meza, who had been left all alone. Meza’s high, rising shot surprised everyone, including the Queretaro keeper, and the match was won for Monterrey in the most unlikely of fashions.
It will be an interesting week for Monterrey, as the calls to start Meza will certainly grow, and Diego Alonso will have to figure out a way to incorporate his players into the squad while keeping everyone happy. Of course, winning is the best way to keep everyone happy, so perhaps a few more wins will create some harmony at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.