Monterrey traveled to El Salvador to take on Alianza FC in San Salvador, looking to get a better result on their travels than their crosstown rivals, Tigres, had gotten on the road in Costa Rica the previous night. A draw would be a decent outcome, given the circumstances, but a win would be welcomed, especially with Santos scoring six goals earlier in the night in their win over Marathon in Honduras.
As it turned out, a nil-nil draw in San Salvador will be seen as a decent result, given the conditions and the heavy fouling that los Rayados were subjected to in a fairly typical CONCACAF Champions League match.
Perhaps the biggest talking point in the first half was the foul on Jonathan Gonzalez that only warranted a yellow card, despite the fact that the “tackle” was from behind, late, and the defender had his studs up and totally raked them down the back of Gonzalez’s leg.
Alianza FC should be given credit, however, for successfully limiting the offense of Monterrey, as while the Rogelio Funes Mori was rested, the lineup still had plenty of firepower in it, with Rodolfo Pizarro, Angel Zalvidar, Alives Hurtado, and Dorlan Pabon all in the starting lineup. The hosts set up to frustrate and take away passing lanes, and while it didn’t exactly make for exciting viewing, the defensive style certainly did the job it was supposed to do.
Pabon had perhaps the best chance for Monterrey in the first half with a shot that appeared to be at least 30 yards out. And while Funes Mori’s golazo last week was successful, Pabon’s was not, but such was the frustrating style of play from Alianza that only one shot was put on goal by Monterrey in the first half.
The second half was more of the same, with Alianza again fouling heavily and limiting the offensive chances for both teams. The referee seemed to be intimidated by the circumstances, and often swallowed his whistle and refused to use his red card, despite a good number of sickening tackles by the hosts.
The closest Monterrey came to scoring was from a corner kick, but Celso Ortiz’s shot drifted just over the crossbar. It would have been a golazo and a good way to win a tough match, but it was not to be. The match ended 0-0 and both teams will do it all over again next week at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer, in a match that Monterrey will certainly have to feel a lot better about their chances for a victory.