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Funes Mori magic helps Monterrey take 2-1 lead over Club América in Liga MX Final

Monterrey v America - Final Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Monterrey emerged 2-1 winners against Club América on Thursday as a last-minute bicycle kick from Rogelio Funes Mori helped los Rayados to a one-goal advantage heading into the second leg of the 2019 Liga MX Apertura Final.

The game itself proved deprived of good chances until late in the first period when Las Águilas opened the scoring through a Carlos Rodriguez own goal. Following a great reception from Henry Martin, a Federico Viñas shot ended with Rodriguez deflecting the ball into the back of his own net.

Monterrey scrambled back almost immediately, and Stefan Medina equalized moments later after his goal was initially ruled to be offside. Upon a VAR review, Medina was clearly onside, and the match went into second half leveled at a goal apiece.

Just six minutes into the second period, shades of Club América’s Semifinal First Leg against Monarcas Morelia as Sebastian Cordova was sent off for a second yellow, leaving las Águilas down to ten men.

América’s resilience following the sending off was admirable, to say the least, but it was Monterrey who had the clearer chances to go in front. In the 69th minute, a long-distance shot from Dorlan Pabon forced Guillermo Ochoa to a good save.

With the game winding down, Monterrey had an even clearer chance when Ochoa once again had to come to América’s rescue with a finger-tip save off a Vincent Janssen header. In one of the subsequent plays, Rogelio Funes Mori would appear with space inside the box, unleashing a phenomenal bicycle kick to send the Estadio BBVA Bancomer into a frenzy and sealing the 2-1 win for the Rayados.

The result means América will now need another one of their trademark Estadio Azteca comebacks on Sunday if they plan on ending the season with a trophy. Meanwhile, Monterrey find themselves just 90 minutes away from adding their fifth league title in their history.