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With last minute heroics, Necaxa rescues tie against Monterrey

Necaxa v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Necaxa waited until the last minute to grab a point and continue Monterrey’s lackluster start to the Clausura 2020 with a 2-2 tie. The game turned into a very even matchup, with Monterrey twice taking the lead but both times allowing Necaxa to tie the match up. The game had been postponed from the first week of league play as Monterrey was given a week off because of how late in the year the last Liga MX final had been played. Both teams will now have tough away Liga MX matchups this weekend, with Monterrey traveling to Leon and Necaxa going to play away at FC Juarez.

The last semifinal rematch started with both teams having an even matchup, as Necaxa tried to continue with their good record at home while Monterrey tried to get off their “campeonitis”. Necaxa started being the most dangerous of the teams and twice came close with dangerous chances. It would be Monterrey however who would strike first. A great play from Rogelio Funes Mori took Necaxa’s goalkeeper Yosgart Gutierrez out of the play and found Miguel Layun in the area, whose one time shot went into the goal for the 1-0. Necaxa went on the offense, but Monterrey handled it well. Monterrey finally started attacking more and came close off a header from Nicolas Sanchez. Necaxa answered back and came close with a free kick by Daniel Alvarez. About a minute later, Necaxa got a penalty kick when Maxi Meza was judged to have pushed Mauro Quiroga in the area. Juan Delgado took the kick and placed it past Monterrey’s keeper Marcelo Barovero for the 1-1 tie. Monterrey then got close to retaking the lead when Layun took a great free kick and the ball just went inches above the post. A few minutes later the halftime whistle blew and both teams went with the score tied.

The second half started and it didn’t take long for the first chance to happen. After a nice transition, the ball fell to a wide open Layun who skied his shot in what should’ve been a better opportunity. Necaxa responded quickly, and Fernando Arce came close but his shot went wide. They had a great opportunity with a two against one on a counter, but Jesus Gallardo knocked down Delgado for a foul and a yellow card. Off the ensuing free kick. Quiroga got a shot that went close to hitting the right post. Necaxa had a good opportunity in the area again but Quiroga skied his volley. The game got very even as neither team was able to create many opportunities. Then just as the game looked like it was going to end as a tie, Jesus Gallardo went through the left wing and got off a great cross that Fernando Arce deflected into his own net to give Monterrey the 2-1 lead. Necaxa scrambled trying to get the goal, and in the last minute a cross into the area fell to Rodrigo Noya, who got a shot past Barovero for the 2-2. In the last minute of injury time, Necaxa kept alive their undefeated record and continued Monterrey’s struggles.

While it wasn’t the brightest game, the final minutes provided some excitement. Necaxa got a good result even when as a home team they might have been expected to be better. They were able to come back twice and get the tie while being overall slightly better. Monterrey meanwhile gets a point but they will be kicking themselves over losing two points in the final minute, especially after it came from a bad defensive play. Monterrey continues to show that they have suffered form not having any preseason because of their Liga MX title (although to be fair unlike America, they really wouldn’t trade their predicament for another). Both teams will have tough away games now, and they probably will not be favored to get results which mean Monterrey’s struggles might continue another week.