Monterrey hosted Puebla tonight, needing a win to reclaim the top spot in the league table after crosstown rivals Tigres UANL beat Club Atlas last night in Liga MX. The result temporarily sent Tigres to the top of the league table with 19 points, two points ahead of Monterrey’s 16.
Puebla came into the match with nine points, but with the tightness of the middle part of the Liga MX table, la Franja were only two points away from 5th placed Necaxa. And while Puebla had drawn with FC Juarez 1-1 this past Wednesday in Copa MX action, Monterrey had traveled all the way to San Salvador in CONCACAF Champions League play, where los Rayados had drawn 0-0 with Alianza FC.
Monterrey started out with an unfamiliar line-up, with Rogelio Funes Mori, Jesus Gallardo, and Nico Sanchez all missing out as the team seemed to rest some regular players with another midweek match in the CCL coming up next week.
The first half showed that the team looked a tad unfamiliar with each other and in need of an offensive spark, as the team seemed disjointed and unable to really test the Puebla defense or the keeper. While they had seven shots in the first half, none were on target.
The best chance of the first half came from Puebla, but Marcelo Barovero did well to stop the certain goal in the 12th minute. Puebla also had a goal called back for offsides later in the half, but nothing else seemed to be going the way of the hosts in the first half.
The second half started much as the first half had ended, with los Rayados still searching for a good final ball, while Puebla looked content to sit back and absorb pressure, not allowing the hosts to get a lot going. Even when Monterrey did, most of the offense still continued to look rather toothless.
Avilés Hurtado was brought on in the 64th minute for Rodolfo Pizarro, and in the 72nd minute, Jesus Gallardo and Adam Bareiro came on for Carlos Rodriguez and Angel Zaldivar as Monterrey manager Diego Alonso looked to try and give the offense a jump start late in the match.
Unfortunately, even those changes didn’t seem to do a whole lot for the offense for los Rayados. There was a late shout for a penalty, as Dorlan Pabón had gone down in the area, but the referee ruled that he hadn’t been fouled before he kicked the ball into the box. Even the six minutes of stoppage time did not produce a winner for either team, and while Rayados were frustrated throughout most of the night, Puebla will feel good about walking out of the Estadio BBVA Bancomer with a point. Monterrey still sit in second place in the table, but will be a tad worried that the club still cannot seem to be very effective on the offensive end of the pitch without Funes Mori on the pitch.