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2019 Liga MX Femenil Final first leg match recap: Tigres UANL 1, Monterrey 1

Tigres took an early lead but Rayadas held on an tied it up, setting the stage for what should be an exciting Final.

Tigres UANL v Monterrey - Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Javier Figueroa/Jam Media/Getty Images

A noche magíca at Estadio Universitario as Tigres drew Monterrey in front of 41,615 people. Goals from Belén Cruz and Annia Mejía set the stage for what should be a thrilling final.

It wouldn’t be until the fourth minute when Tigres finally got possession and made an incursion into the box, but the ball was scrambled away by Rayadas. A minute later Tigres would capitalize when Jackie Ovalle received the ball along the left wing, cut once, cut twice, cut three times and shot. The shot was blocked but the rebound went to Belén Cruz, who shot through traffic into the open net.

Monterrey came back down the field and had a good chance but goalkeeper Ofelia Solís stood strong, denying the chance. In the ninth minute, Ovalle had another look at goal but Claudia Lozoya made a stop and despite some confusion with a defender she was able to smother the ball and snuff out the chance.

In the 19th minute Nancy Antonio almost doubled the lead when she hit a rocket from outside of the box but it hit off of the post and went wide out into space.

In the 24th, Tigres hit a corner kick that looked like it was headed in on an olimpico but Lozoya was able to push the ball out. It went into the midsection of Greta Espinoza and caromed between Espinoza’s midsection and the post at least twice before being scrambled away by the Rayadas defense.

Three minutes later Ovalle made a break in on goal and hit a shot that missed the net by the slimmest of margins. Rayadas were on their heels for large portions of the first half, and Tigres came at them. In the 33rd, Ovalle was played in and drew out the defense. Her scuffed shot beat the goalkeeper but was cleared off of the goal line by a sliding kick save by Annia Mejía. As the clock went past the 45 minute mark, Rayadas finally had their first good opportunity of the evening when Desirée Monsiváis drove down the field and hit a shot that Solís stopped. Diana Evangelista got to the rebound but her shot went well high and wide.

Tigres continued the pressure into the second half, getting several chances in the early moments and largely keeping Rayadas pinned in their own end. Monterrey was finally able to break out in the 53rd minute, and off of a corner kick Annia Mejía put her header in past Ofelia Solís to draw the sides level.

Mejía’s second goal of the year was a burst of energy for the once lethargic visiting team. All of the sudden Rayadas players were buzzing around the pitch, pressing Tigres on defense and trying to create chances on offense instead of just hoofing the ball forward and hoping to make something happen.

It was almost Tigres that made something happen in the 65th when Ovalle made a run down the left side of the box and hit a cross over to the onrushing Katty Martínez, but her leaping kick only tipped the ball and it went out for a goal kick. In the 67th it would be Martínez feeding one to Ovalle, but her shot was closed down by Lozoya and went straight into the sliding goalkeeper.

Tigres’ right back Karen Luna went out injured in the 72nd with an apparent injury to her left elbow. The television cameras showed her on the bench in obvious pain while her elbow was wrapped in ice. In the 74th Monsiváis had a header whistle just wide of goal.

The game got more physical as it went along, with tackles getting harder and harder as the play slowed with more fouls being called. In the dying moments of the match, Tigres were awarded a free kick just outside of the Rayadas box, but the resulting kick went straight to Lozoya.

Tigres UANL: Ofelia Solís; Selene Cortés, Greta Espinoza, Cristina Ferral, Karen Luna (Natalia Villareal, 72’); Nayeli Rangel, Nancy Antonio (Blanca Solís, 82’), Liliana Mercado; Jacqueline Ovalle, Katty Martínez, Belén Cruz (Carolina Jaramillo, 90’)

Monterrey: Claudia Lozoya; Ricla Rajunov, Annia Mejía, Rebeca Bernal, Mariana Cadena; Andrea Hernández, Valeria Valdez, Diana Evangelista (Alicia Cervantes, 82’), Dinora Garza (Jazmin Aguas, 74’); Daniela Solis, Desirée Monsiváis (Victoria López, 87’)

Scoring: Tigres UANL - Belén Cruz (4’); Monterrey - Annia Mejía (53’)

Disciplinary: Tigres UANL - None; Monterrey - Andrea Hernández (Yellow - 83’)