Necaxa are hoping to get back to a Liga MX final for the first time since moving to Aguascalientes from Mexico City when they take on a Rayados team that dominated them to a 2-1 win in the First Leg. While Necaxa has the advantage of having an away goal and having the better record, which means that a 2-1 win would get them through, they will need to get the win by facing a Monterrey team that has a better offensive team than Rayos and should be primed to take advantage of counter attacks.
Monterrey seems to be kicking themselves after a home game where they completely dominated Necaxa and should have settled the series. Instead, they almost went away with a draw if Vincent Janssen hadn’t scored to give Rayados the one goal lead. They will have a tough task in Aguascalientes, although they already prevailed in the Quarterfinals with a 1-1 tie in the second leg against Santos, a result that would give Monterrey the ticket to the final if they do get it on Saturday. Still, Monterrey will have the difficulty of being away against a team that is well coached. They will also might be distracted by the fact that on Sunday they have to travel to Qatar to play in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup. If they get through, the final will be paused until the tournament takes place. A distraction is the last thing the teams needs as they need to be at 100% for the tough task.
Necaxa was a shadow of itself for a second away game when they played against Monterrey. Just like away at Queretaro, where they almost gave away a three-goal lead when they went down 2-0 in 20 minutes, they had a terrible game in which they were totally dominated. In both games they got a lifeline. Against Queretaro, Luis Romo got red carded in the 45th minute, which gave them a man advantage for the second half and they finished up winning the game. Against Monterrey, they were lucky that terrible finishing and a mistake from Monterrey’s keeper Marcelo Barovero meant they only lost 2-1 and had an away goal. That said, as previously mentioned, it won’t be easy against an away team that will counter and is a better all-around team than Querétaro, even when their regular season record didn’t show it. If Monterrey fixes their finishing woes, they have enough offensive power to make Necaxa pay for an offensive risk they have to take as the draw would eliminate them.
Necaxa are on the brink of history but they are facing their toughest hurdle yet. They are hoping coach Guillermo Vasquez continues surprising with a team that nobody had making to the Liguilla or being in the Semifinals. Monterrey, on the other hand, will need to show they don’t have the problems they had under Diego Alonso, where their away form always let them down, wasting first leg wins against Tigres and Cruz Azul in the same situation they will face on Saturday against Necaxa (a one goal first leg advantage).
Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 6:30pm Pacific, 8:30pm Central, 9:30pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Victoria, Aguascalientes, Mexico
TV: Univision (US-Español), TUDN USA (US-Español), TUDN (Mexico), Canal 5 Televisa (Mexico)
Listings via LiveSoccerTV.com