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2021 Liga MX Femenil Apertura Liguilla Final match recap: Monterrey 2, Tigres UANL 2

A classic Clásico Regio, with Rayadas and Tigres setting the stage for a thrilling final

Tigres v America - Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX Femenil Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

It was everything you could want from a Final, let alone a Clásico Regio Final as Rayadas and Tigres played to a 2-2 draw at Estadio BBVA, setting up a tense 90 minutes at El Volcán on Monday.

Monterrey started out a bit slow but quickly found their groove by sending balls in toward Desirée Monsiváis in the box. Unfortunately for Monterrey, most didn’t find their way to Monsiváis. Luckily however in the eleventh minute a cross in from Diana Evangelista that was destined for Monsiváis hit off of Tigres defender Cristina Ferral for the autogol to give the hosts the lead.

The goal threw Tigres for a bit of a loop, knocking their confidence and for a couple of minutes it looked like Rayadas could get a second. It was Tigres however that scored the next goal when Monterrey couldn’t clear the ball out of their own box and Stephany Mayor hit a rocket of a shot. Alex Godínez tipped the shot into the crossbar, and the rebound fell to an in-stride Greta Espinoza for a point-blank header to equalize the match.

Shortly after that was a scary moment when Christina Burkenroad and Cristina Ferral went up for a ball, with Burkenroad hitting her head on Ferral’s shoulder. Ferral was ok, but Burkenroad was on the turf for a couple of minutes while concussion protocol was administered. She got up and was able to walk to the sidelines but was visibly injured and would be removed due to the league’s concussion protocol. After the game, Monterrey manager Eva Espejo revealed that Burkenroad had been taken to the hospital to rule out further injuries.

The play from Ferral wasn’t dirty, but it ratcheted up the physicality considerably. Later in the match Diana García caught a high boot from Mayor that caused her nose to hemorrhage blood and no card was given. García’s nose was pushed back into place and the bleeding stopped, and she was able to continue. In the 42nd, Rebeca Bernal was shown a yellow card for a kick that caught Jackie Ovalle, ripping her shorts on Bernal’s cleats.

Just before Bernal’s challenge, Lizzette Rodríguez put Monterrey up when another pass from the right was sent in toward Monsiváis in the box. Nancy Antonio out-jumped Monsiváis for it, but because of a collision with Monsiváis wasn’t able to direct the ball anywhere but up and Rodríguez was able to beat Bianca Sierra to it and knock in.

At the start of the second half, Tigres’ halftime adjustments worked well and the visitors were able to impose their will on Monterrey. Rayadas however hung tough, getting good stops from Godínez and being the beneficiaries of poor finishing from Tigres. Rayadas also had a couple of chances off of set pieces but just couldn’t get another one past Ceci Santiago.

Tigres found the equalizer in the 70th minute when Mayor pushed past Mariana Cadena to get to a ball, catching Godínez too far from Mayor to throw her body in front of a shot and too far from the goal to get back onto the line. Mayor took a deft touch of the ball to lift it up and over the defenseless goalkeeper and into the back of the net to once again draw the sides level.

Both teams had opportunities to get one more before the match ended, but neither could quite manage it and the match ended in a 2-2 tie. The game really had everything, from physicality and grit to dazzling displays of technical savvy and tactical gamesmanship, setting the stage for what should be a thrilling second leg on Monday, Decemeber 20th.

Monterrey: Alex Godínez; Mónica Flores, Mariana Cadena, Rebeca Bernal, Alejandra Calderón; Yamile Franco (Valeria Del Campo, 81’), Diana García, Diana Evangelista; Aylin Aviléz, Desirée Monsiváis, Christina Burkenroad (Lizzette Rodríguez, 25’ - concussion protocol)

Tigres UANL: Ceci Santiago; Natalia VIllarreal, Greta Espinoza, Natalia Villarreal (Jana Gutiérrez, 59’), BIanca Sierra; Liliana Mercado, Nancy Antonio; Jackie Ovalle, Belén Cruz (Fer Elizondo, 89’), María Sánchez; Stephany Mayor

Scoring: Monterrey - Cristina Ferral (11’ - autogol), Montserrat Rodríguez (41’) ; Tigres UANL - Greta Espinoza (19’), Stephany Mayor (70’)

Disciplinary: Monterrey - Rebeca Bernal (Yellow - 42’); Tigres UANL - Mariana Cadena (Yellow - 67’), Greta Espinoza (Yellow - 82’), María Sánchez (Yellow - 84’)