Monterrey hosted Tigres UANL in the 118th edition of the Clásico Regiomontano tonight, with the winner of the match looking for both city bragging rights and status of the top of the table in Liga MX. Monterrey came into the match without a loss, but Tigres had more points, with 22 points from nine games, and with Monterrey on 21 points from nine games.
This is the match of the Clausura 2019 for both clubs, and it was certainly a tale of two halves, for as aggressive as Monterrey was in the first half, Tigres was probably more aggressive in the second half. The score ended up 1-1, and while it was probably fair, Monterrey will feel a little hard done by. However, with both the Concacaf Champions League and Liguilla coming up, this may not be the final meeting between the two clubs.
Monterrey almost got on the board early as Tigres keeper Nahuel Guzmán fumbled a backpass in the 10th minute and almost allowed Rogelio Funes Mori to pounce, but the keeper was able to recover and get the ball out of danger.
Edu Vargas made a remarkable miss in front of the Monterrey net in the 13th minute, as he was left unmarked in the box, but he sent his shot into orbit. A huge let-off for Monterrey, as Marcelo Barovero was rooted in place and would have had absolutely no chance to make the save.
Monterrey had a few more chances in the first half, with both Maxi Meza and Funes Mori came close, with Funes Mori’s shot needing a good save from Guzmán to deny the scoring opportunity.
As for Tigres, they looked to hang back and allow Monterrey possession while looking to hit on the counter-attack. Julián Quiñones hit a blistering shot that went right past the far post, past the outstretched hands of Barovero.
Funes Mori opened the scoring for Monterrey in the 34th minute, after a great drive into the box by Jesús Gallardo and a give-and-go move with Funes Mori to get free for a return ball to the striker. The ball was behind Funes Mori, but rather than try and turn and get a shot off in a tight angle, Funes Mori instead backheeled the ball right into the back of the net, with no chance for Guzmán.
Monterrey would continue to put pressure on their rivals, but neither team was able to get anything else on net. A few hard tackles from Tigres resulted in both Guido Pizarro and Francisco Meza getting yellow cards, with Meza lucky to escape a second red after a bone-crunching tackle right at the ankles of Funes Mori.
Francisco Meza was taken off at half-time for Mexico international Hugo Ayala for Tigres, as it seemed that it was better to take him off rather than have him sent off. The second half started with a little pressure from Tigres, as Luis Quiñones used his speed to get into the box, but his cross was turned over the goal by Enner Valencia.
As the second half wore on, Tigres started to dial up the pressure. Just like in the first half with Monterrey pinning Tigres back in their own zone, los Rayados were pinned back in their own zone, with Tigres looking for a goal to draw them level while Monterrey looked to hold on to their one-goal lead in the match.
Cesár Montes saw yellow for a foul on Valencia, although it did appear that Valencia made the most of the contact from the 22 year-old Mexico youth international. The subsequent free kick came to nothing, however, and Monterrey avoided surrendering a goal.
Maxi Meza made way for Alivés Hurtado and Dorlan Pabón was taken off for young central defender Johan Vásquez, as Monterrey manager Diego Alonso looked to set up shop with three central defenders now on the pitch to limit the chances from the visitors.
However, Luis Quiñones would tie the match up in the 81st minute and got a yellow card for his shirtless celebration on the sideline. Barovero had poor positioning on a cross from Quiñones, and so instead of catching the ball, Barovero merely ended up knocking the ball into the back of the net. Quiñones would probably claim that he meant to shoot the ball, but it did appear that he intended on crossing the ball.
Leonel Vangioni was taken off for Ángel Zaldívar as Alonso looked to add some firepower to the lineup and support for Funes Mori, only a few minutes after taking off Pabón, one of the most dangerous offensive threats in Liga MX, for a central defender.
In the end, it was too little, too late for Monterrey to come back and reclaim the lead, and the latest edition of the Clásico Regio finished 1-1 with the rivals sharing the points and drawing even, just as they did in Apertura 2018 at El Volcán. However, with the way that this season is going in both Liga MX and the Concacaf Champions League, this will likely not be the last time these two teams will meet, as if both teams win out in the CCL they will meet in finals and there is a very good chance that both teams will meet at some point in the Liguilla.