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Chivas escape with tie against improving Monterrey

Chivas and Monterrey tie 1-1 in a game which Monterrey may have deserved better.

Chivas v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Monterrey came close to getting their first win of the season but had to be content with their performance as they tie 1-1 against Chivas. Chivas had a three game winning streak and had been improving, but even when they took the lead they couldn’t hold on. Monterrey finished up as the better team after being slightly dominated early on and Chivas was lucky not to lose the game, which included a controversial goal that was called off. Chivas was scheduled to travel to Queretaro while Monterrey was to receive Santos, but this will be determined whenever Mexican football returns to play.

Chivas and Monterrey started their game without fans because of the COVID-19 emergency in the stands, like every other Liga MX game on Saturday. Monterrey didn’t have either Rogelio Funes Mori or Vincent Janssen available. While Monterrey had more of the possession in the first minutes, Chivas had the first good chance when Uriel Antuna came close to a ball but Stefan Medina cleared it for the corner kick. Then off of the corner kick, Jesus Molina headed the ball and forced Monterrey’s goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero to make a great save but the ball fell back to Molina, who scored it into the net for the 1-0 lead for the hosts.

Monterrey then went on the attack and came close when a clearance by Chivas almost fell to a Monterrey attacker. Monterrey had another chance when a bad clearance left the ball for Carlos Rodriguez, but his left footed volley went wide after a Chivas defender cleared it. On the ensuing corner kick, the ball fell to Miguel Layun who got a long range shot that Chivas’ keeper Jose Antonio Rodriguez was forced to make a great save on. The halftime whistle blew and Chivas took a lead to the locker room, although Monterrey had done enough to deserve a tie.

The second half started and although Chivas had a shot with Antuna, it was Monterrey who had the first true chance when a Dorlan Pabon shot was almost deflected in. Chivas had their best chance when after a rebound, Antuna got to the ball and had a great shot that unluckily went straight to Barovero. After Chivas had some counters, Monterrey again came close when Layun made a great shot that just went a little wide. Chivas had a great chance when Jose Juan Macias had a counter attack, but his shot went wide after no Chivas player had gone with him in the run and he got boxed out. Immediately Rayados made them pay when Jesus Gallardo got into the area and got off a rifle of a left footed shot past Rodriguez for the 1-1 tie.

Controversy struck when off of a free kick it looked like Cesar Montes had scored, but the referee called it back because he supposedly hadn’t blown his whistle for Rayados to start play. Monterrey had to take the free kick again, and it ended up with a header that went wide. Monterrey came close again when another couple of plays in the area finished off with a shot that a defender cleared into a corner kick. Monterrey continued to dominate play, although Chivas had a close call on a counter but Barovero was able to beat Macias to the ball. Monterrey came within inches of getting the second goal when an Eduardo Banda shot from outside the area came close to going in but wound up just wide. Then Monterrey had a great chance when Maxi Meza’s shot got deflected into the post. On the final play of the game, Nicolas Sanchez got a header that was saved off the line by Chivas. The game ended 1-1, and Chivas had unjustly gotten a tie while Monterrey deserved the win but had to blame lucky (and perhaps questionable) refereeing decisions for the lack of a win.

While Monterrey had been having a terrible season and currently sits in last place, they had improved during the week and had the boost of qualifying to the Copa MX final on Wednesday. They are also the current Liga MX and Concacaf Champions, so their struggles aren’t representative of the talent the squad has. Still it was Chivas who was heavily favored and while they did live up for most of the game, their performance in the second half reminded fans of the early struggles the team had before their three game winning streak. Monterrey should improve, and this could be a first step but it probably isn’t enough for Liga MX and they should be looking at the Copa MX final. Chivas meanwhile will have to improve a lot and not fall back to their old ways as their play in the three game winning streak had improved but outside of the Leon match, it hadn’t been overly superior either.