Club Atlas hosted Monterrey today with nothing more than pride and points on the line, as the Liguilla places had already been determined on Saturday, meaning that there was very little for either team to play for. A victory for Atlas would help them go into the summer on a good note, while a Monterrey victory would be nice, but Los Rayados would probably just want to get through the game with a decent performance and no injuries.
Monterrey started an extremely different lineup than the one that defeated cross-town rivals Tigres UANL in the Concacaf Champions League, as Diego Alonso looked to give his regulars some well-earned rest while he fielded a mostly “B” team for the match against Atlas. Of course, as Necaxa learned last week in the 2-2 draw, Monterrey’s “B” team is still probably better than most other clubs in Liga MX, as Maxi Meza, an Argentina international midfielder, got a rare start Liga MX.
Club Atlas would take the lead in the first half after some timely passing from Atlas and some rather disappointing defending from Monterrey. Jairo Torres took advantage of Monterrey’s failure to clear the ball and did a good job of just shooting the ball quickly, not giving the Monterrey defense or the keeper any time to react.
Atlas had hit the crossbar a few minutes earlier, but they were somehow unable to score despite looking as if it would have been harder to not get a shot on net in a sequence that should have given Monterrey fans a heart attack before the goal was actually given up.
Monterrey spent most of the first half looking second best to an Atlas team that was looking a lot better than their league position would have indicated before the match and Monterrey never really seemed to get going.
The second half was really more of the same from both teams, with Atlas continuing to come close to scoring on a number of occasions while Monterrey seemed to be second to every ball kicked and continued to look unable to score with Rogelio Funes Mori on the bench.
Despite the introduction of Dorlan Pabón and Avilés Hurtado in the second half, Monterrey was still unable to score and while Atlas were unable to make Los Rayados really pay, it wasn’t because of a lack of chances.
The result was pretty much sealed in the 82nd minute, as Monterrey’s Ángel Zaldivar saw red for a late, high challenge on an Atlas player after missing perhaps Monterrey’s best chance of the half, as he got the ball right at his feet in the box, only to fail to even make contact.
Atlas added a second goal a few minutes later, in the 88th minute, after Juan Pablo Vigón was left completely unmarked right in front of goal on a corner kick. Vigón easily scored the goal to give Atlas a 2-0 lead and see out the match for Los Rojinegros.
Despite the poor showing in the Estadio Jalisco, Monterrey will face off against Necaxa in the upcoming Liguilla while Club Atlas will evaluate their season and look for a better Apertura 2019.