Matches between Club América and Monterrey are almost never dull, and this match was no different. Want VAR controversy? Check. Dodgy penalty call? Check. Goalkeeping howler? Check. And that was only in the first 25 minutes.
Yet, somehow, it got crazier as the match wore on with red cards, a missed penalty, and a stunning golazo from Rogelio Funes Mori that proved to be the match winner.
The first dodgy decision, that should have indicated what kind of night fans for both Monterrey and Club América were in for occurred in the 7th minute, as Avilés Hurtado was given a straight red for fouling Agustín Marchesín on the edge of the box as Hurtado chased down a loose ball while Marchesin came off his line to grab the ball. Hurtado made a touch on the ball and accidentally stepped on the keeper. No harm, no foul, right?
Despite no foul being called on the play, a red card was produced after the referee consulted with VAR, leaving Monterrey short a man after only seven minutes. In a normal match, that would have been the most controversial decision of the night, but we were only getting started.
Monterrey fans went from upset to joyous in a few short minutes as the referee awarded Monterrey a penalty kick in the 13th minute. Funes Mori went up for a ball in the box with two America defenders, and while the contact looked incidental, the referee pointed to the spot and gave a yellow card to Emanuel Aguilera for the foul.
Nico Sanchez made no mistake from the spot, and Monterrey were up 1-0 despite being down to 10 men.
Edson’s goal to tie the game for America pic.twitter.com/EmagZRZ0OK— Mex Nex Gen (@MexNexGen) January 26, 2019
About ten minutes later, Edson Alvarez scored after a goalkeeping howler from Marcelo Barovero. Barovero seemed to make the initial save on the slippery surface, but the ball somehow squirted underneath the Argentine keeper and into the back of the net.
The half ended with the teams level and Monterrey down a man, with plenty of excitement and controversy. And the match was only getting started.
The match got bonkers in the 48th minute after Jorge Sanchez was given his marching orders for a terrible tackle. Sanchez went in two footed and took out Stefan Medina right at the ankle. It was a bad challenge that left both sides with 10 men and gave Monterrey a fighting chance in the match.
However, ten minutes later, another red card would be produced, as Aguilera was given a second yellow card for a bad challenge, leaving America with nine men, and all of a sudden, Monterrey was able to seize the opportunity despite playing almost an hour with 10 men. It almost immediately paid off, as Monterrey got a penalty in the 60th minute.
Nico Sanchez stepped up to take another penalty. However, this time Marchesin was able to guess correctly and turned the shot away. Sanchez followed up on the shot, and while he tried to get the ball back from the America keeper, he was given a yellow card for either the foul committed on Marchesin or complaining about the decision. Nico had been carded in the first half, so a fourth red card was produced and America and Monterrey were suddenly both playing with nine men for the last half-hour of the match.
Luckily for Monterrey, one of the players left for los Rayados was Funes Mori. He scored the first of his two goals on the night in the 67th minute as Monterrey started to look for chances to get a win over their rivals from CDMX.
Funes Mori followed up that goal with an absolute golazo only two minutes later. Funes Mori showed his ability to hold up the ball, wait for an opening and close control to take a cross and fool two defenders to score an amazing goal for Monterrey.
America would get one back a few minutes later, as Bruno Valdez was able to break the offside trap to get America’s second goal of the night. Valdez almost seemed to slip on the ball as he went to shoot it, but was able to retain control as he scooted past Barovero.
The last 10 minutes and stoppage time were pretty nervy, with Marchesin coming up in stoppage time to try and pull America level, but at the end of the day, Monterrey survived the pressure to get a good, if controversial, win at home over America. Monterrey are still undefeated in the Clausura 2019, and would have made it four wins from four games if not for a late goal surrendered to Leon in the second match of the season.
America will feel hard done by because of the inconsistent refereeing, although both teams could point to a handful of decisions that probably should have gone the opposite way. Both teams ended up playing with nine men, and while the first penalty was perhaps more than a tad soft, the second Monterrey penalty was a solid decision.
This match should be remembered for Funes Mori’s golazo, although the red cards will probably be the reason everyone will be talking about the match for the rest of the week.