Monterrey started their campaign to win a second trophy tonight in Aguascalientes against Club Necaxa. Loss Rayadosi entered as overwhelming favorites to win the quarterfinal Ligulla match-up, but Necaxa had other plans for the visitors. Despite selling their best player, forward Brian Fernandez, to MLS and the Portland Timbers earlier in the week, Necaxa was able to get a vital goal in first half stoppage time and leave Estadio Victoria with a 1-0 win over Monterrey.
Avilés Hurtado got a first half red card and Rogelio Funes Mori was subbed out early in the second half, perhaps as a way of reducing his minutes in order to have the Argentine striker fresh for the return match at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer. After giving up a goal, Monterrey shut up shop in the second half, and will have to overcome a 0-1 deficit in the second leg at home.
Monterrey went close on a couple of occasions in the first half, but their efforts went for naught as Club Necaxa looked solid defensively almost all match. Miguel Layun had a free kick that troubled the Necaxa keeper in the first half, but Hugo Gonzalez was able to recover and grab the ball before it crossed the line.
¡Adiós Hurtada! Otra dura entrada de Avilés y se lleva su segunda amarilla. Se queda con 10 Monterrey@ClubNecaxa⚡ 0-0 @Rayados— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) May 10, 2019
Disfruta de #TuLiguilla https://t.co/r9m6hFQfrV pic.twitter.com/BusNYxBopG
The match took a turn for the worse for Monterrey in the 39th minute, as Hurtado got a second yellow card and was given his marching orders. Not a great decision from the Colombian forward to put himself in that position, and even if the expulsion seemed harsh.
¡¡GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL DEL RAYOOOOO!! ¡¡GOOOLLLL DE NECAXA!! Un centro al corazón del área y Cristian Calderón con un cabezazo al segundo palo abre el marcador.@ClubNecaxa⚡ 1-0 @Rayados pic.twitter.com/IDXKPrskt5— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) May 10, 2019
Things went from bad to worse from a Monterrey perspective right before half-time as Cristian Calderón was able to beat Marcelo Barovero at the far post from an open header. Necaxa had plenty of time and space to send in a dangerous cross and Calderón’s header made the visitors pay.
Monterrey made fairly quick change in the second half, with Runes Mori coming off for Adam Bareiro in the 52nd minute. Barovero had a solid match in goal for Los Rayados and he was responsible for saving a number of shots that got through.
Dorlan Pabón was taken off in the second half as well for Monterrey, with defender Cesár Montes coming on to ensure that Monterrey would not give up any more goals. Barovero made a remarkable save in the 80th minute to keep Necaxa at a single goal.
Monterrey will now have a bit of a challenge ahead of them, but if any team can overcome a 1-0 deficit at home, it’s Monterrey. Necaxa will also consider themselves to be lucky to go into the second leg of their Liguilla quarterfinal up a goal and having kept a clean sheet against Monterrey.