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Tigres UANL defeats Rayadas in penalties for their third Liga MX Femenil title

An absolute masterclass from both teams as Rayadas equalize at the death but Tigres prevails on penalties.

Monterrey v Tigres UANL - Final Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

One of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time between two of the best teams in North America ended in dramatic fashion, with Monterrey tying in stoppage time before succumbing in penalties to Tigres.

The big news heading into the match was Rayadas captain Rebeca Bernal not in the team’s matchday roster, replaced by Mónica Flores. Belén Cruz of Tigres did however make her team’s matchday roster after missing most of the Liguilla.

Rayadas started out immediately pressuring the ball, looking to force Tigres out of their comfort zone and make mistakes. It worked early on, as Tigres looked like they were not expecting the immediate press from their rivals. Tigres managed however to get the first shot on goal however in the fourth minute when Jackie Ovalle took a shot in the six yard box, however she was well defended and Alejandría “Alex” Godínez was well positioned and easily made the save.

Tigres then started making quicker decisions and was able to work past Monterrey’s press and threaten on goal. Rayadas’ defense however was able to meet the challenges, keeping players in front of the ball and mitigating early scoring opportunities. Rayadas did well to spread the field when in possession and then condense it when out of possession. Dani Solís had Rayadas’ first good chance in the 13th minute but her header was well over the crossbar. There was some controversy in the 14th minute when Greta Espinoza went in hard to block a shot by Desirée Monsiváis and got both ball and player at the edge of the box, but no foul was called.

The action was end-to-end with few breaks in play, although neither team was able to generate many good chances. Rayadas had a good break in the 31sst minute when Christina Burkenroad was played in on the left side but her cross was well defended and went out. A minute later Burkenroad had a shot from just outside of the box that just missed the post past a diving Ofelia Solís. At the other end, Tigres had a good chance in the 36th minute off of a corner kick but the header on a rebound off of the crossbar was just not able to go. In the 41st a giveaway deep lead to a shot from distance from Bianca Sierra that Alex Godínez was able to tip over the bar.

The second half picked up right where the first left off. Tigres looked like they were going to get a chance in the 48th minute when Mayor was played into the box but an inch-perfect tackle by Annia Mejía took the ball off of her foot. Then in the 50th Mayor did get to the ball in the box and made a fantastic shot but Alex Godínez was right there to make the save. Tigres kept the pressure on, pinning Rayadas in their own end for a good portion of the start of the half. There was again controversy when during a scrum in the box, Katty Martínez went down. Replays showed that Martínez foot had been stepped on, however referee Katia García didn’t see it through the mass of limbs entangled in the scrum and there is no VAR in the league.

In the 67th a giveaway to Jackie Ovalle deep by Diana García lead Ovalle to take a shot that Alex Godínez was able to parry out for a corner kick. In the 74th it was a giveaway by Tigres that lead to a shot from distance by Monsiváis that just whistled wide of the net. The pace became breakneck and resembled a basketball game with the teams racing up and down the pitch. In the 76th Rayadas looked to have created a good chance when Monsiváis was played in but the AR raised their flag although replays showed the play was most likely onside.

The intensity of the game is hard to convey accurately in mere words. Both teams played hard and did not back down from one another, pressuring each other to chase down every ball and fight for every inch. Desirée Monsiváis and Cristina Ferral both earned yellow cards after a contentious play ended but the players continued jawing after the play mere inches apart from one another.

In the 90th minute a ball in from Ricla Rajunov found Monsiváis, but her no-look header missed by inches. Monterrey wouldn’t give up though and on a break down the field Annia Mejía was able to come up with the bouncing ball in the box and knock it home to draw the sides level and send it to penalties.

Rayadas went first and Monsiváis waited forever but converted her penalty. Katty Martínez converted hers to equalize for Tigres. Christina Burkenroad sent her penalty over the bar, and Liliana Mercado converted hers to put Tigres up. Mariana Cadena converted, as did Nancy Antonio. Valeria Valdez sent her penalty wide, but Cristina Ferral did as well. but Ofelia Solís stoned the final shot from Yamile Franco go get their third championship.

Tigres UANL: Ofelia Solís; Natalia Villarreal, Greta Espinoza, Cristina Ferral, Bianca Sierra; Jackie Ovalle (Karen Luna, 88’), Liliana Mercado, Nancy Antonio, Natalia Gómez Junco (Belén Cruz, 67’); Katty Martínez, Stefany Mayor

Rayadas: Alejandría Godínez; Mariana Cadena, Annia Mejía, Mónica Flores, Ricla Rajunov; Daniela Solís (Yamile Franco, 73’), Valeria Valdez, Diana García (Aylin Aviléz, 87’), Diana Evangelista (Dinora Garza, 63’); Christina Burkenroad, Desirée Monsiváis

Scoring: Tigres UANL - None; Rayadas - Annia Mejía (90+3’)

Disciplinary: Tigres UANL - Desirée Monsiváis (Yellow - 86’); Rayadas - Mónica Flores (Yellow - 61’), Yamile Franco (Yellow - 84’), Cristina Ferral (Yellow - 86’)