Monterrey hosted Club León tonight in what probably was a “must-win” match for manager Diego Alonso and much of the starting XI for Los Rayados. The club had gotten a 2-1 win over Leones Negros in the Copa MX during the midweek, but after dropping their first two games of the Apertura had left Monterrey adrift on zero points, something that would have been unthinkable at the beginning of the season.
Despite some poor play, and going down by two goals, Monterrey fought back for a brilliant 3-2 win on the night. Funes Mori scored the opening and the winning goals, showing just how important the Argentine striker is for Monterrey. César Montes, who had finally restored his starting position after being second choice to Stefan Medina for the first two matches of the season, got the other goal from a set-piece.
Monterrey will now travel to Chiapas to take on Cafetaleros in the Copa MX before their next Liga MX match in Morelia against Monarcas next weekend. Two wins in a row is better than two straight losses, even if one of them was in the Copa.
Club León got on the board first, scoring in the 18th minute after a corner kick. Ismael Sosa made a final touch to the ball as it pinballed around in the box a bit. Sosa was marked by a Monterrey player, but he was quicker to react to the loose ball and drive it home.
Monterrey had a penalty shout a few minutes later after Rogelio Funes Mori went down in the box, but despite consulting VAR, the referee wasn’t interested and waved play on. Monterrey continued to have trouble retaining possession of the ball throughout the first half, and despite their poor record, didn’t seem to have a sense of urgency when in the attack.
León would get their second goal of the match in the 42nd minute as the defense of Los Rayados simply looked rooted in place as León simply tore them apart. Some good off the ball movement lead to a totally open look for Ángel Mena to put the visitors up 2-0.
Funes Mori, however, would almost immediately grab a goal back for Monterrey just before halftime. After the León keeper Cota did well to stop the initial shot, Funes Mori tracked the ball in the air and simply smashed the ball home from a towering header.
Monterrey went into halftime down 2-1 and needing some answers. A loss would leave Monterrey in an unthinkable position, so if there ever was a time for the veteran players at Monterrey to step up, this would be the time.
Los Rayados looked much better in the second half, and they were finally rewarded for some good play after César Montes did well to get his head to a Miguel Layún free kick and level the score in the 67th minute.
Monterrey continued to press for a winning goal while León seemed to do well to sit back and absorb the pressure, and it looked like they would be able to ride out the game for a draw with two first half goals.
However, in stoppage time, who else but Funes Mori popped up and scored the winning goal. A brilliant cross from the right from Maxi Meza put the ball right at the feet of a charging Funes Mori, who did well to get past his marker and the cross on the floor prevented the keeper from being able to try and get a hand to it.
In the end, Monterrey came back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 in stoppage time, and they might have done enough tonight to start turning their season around. As bad as they looked at times in the first half, Los Rayados seemed to turn it on in the second half and they grabbed a vital win at home.