Monterrey continues improving as they got a 2-0 victory in the Clasico Regio over Tigres. Days after getting their ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League, they defeated Tigres in their biggest game of the season, the Clasico Regio. Tigres will have complaints over controversial plays, especially on the second goal, but in the end Rayados was the better team. Monterrey will now play on midweek a Liga MX game against Toluca, while Tigres will hope to bounce back as they go back to their home stadium against struggling Pumas.
The first half started with Monterrey coming out with the same starting lineup that crushed Cruz Azul on Thursday, while Tigres also went with his strongest squad. Nicolas Lopez though still out because of an injury, was available to come off of the bench. In the first dangerous play it looked like Florian Thauvin had scored off a pass by Andre-Pierre Gignac, but it was correctly ruled to have been ruled offside. After a couple of even minutes, it was Monterrey making a statement. Maximiliano Meza was able to get to a long ball and get off a great cross that Alfonso Gonzalez was able to get a great header past Tigres’ goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman for the 1-0 lead. Monterrey got close again when Duvan Vergara got the ball in the area, but his left footed shot went wide. Later Rayados got a header by Celso Ortiz that was saved by Guzman. Tigres answered with a left footed shot by Luis Quiñones that was saved by Monterrey’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada. They also came close when a cross by Thauvin almost got pounced on by Gignac before a Monterrey defender cleared it. Tigres came close again when a Gignac shot went straight to Thauvin, who got a left footed shot that hit the post. Monterrey came close again when a cross by Meza was headed wide by Carlos Rodriguez. They had an even better chance when a three-on-three attack ended with a shot by Vergara that was deflected and brilliantly saved by Guzman. Tigres wasted a good opportunity when a shot by Guido Pizarro was deflected safely into Andrada’s hands. Tigres had one more when a long range shot from Gignac forced Andrada to make a great save that ended up hitting the post. The ensuing corner kick ended with a play that was sent wide by Thauvin. Then in the last play of the half, it was a great two-on-one counter attack by Monterrey when Meza made a pass to Rogelio Funes Mori who scored with a right footed shot past Guzman. The play was then seen by the referee with a VAR for a foul on Quiñones that started the counter and it was called off. The halftime whistle blew and it ended with a fight between Cesar Montes and Gignac that started a brawl. Things would be intense for the second half.
The second half started with Tigres subbing out Juan Pablo Vigon for Nicolas Lopez, a totally offensive move that meant that Tigres was going for it on offense. Still it was Monterrey who first came close to scoring with a free kick from Vergara that went just inches wide. Monterrey subbed out injured Celso Ortiz for Matias Kranevitter. Tigres then subbed out Carlos Salcedo, who had been yellow carded and threw a tantrum at the fourth official as he came out, for Juan Sanchez. Monterrey came close again when the Tigres defense failed to clear a ball in the area. Funes Mori got off a left footed shot that forced Guzman to make a save, and the rebound had to be cleared off the line by a Tigres defender. There was a bad clash of heads between Stefan Medina and Cesar Montes, as both players tried to head a ball and they had to receive medical attention. Monterrey subbed out Duvan Vergara for Joel Campbell. Monterrey then had a couple of good attacks, but they were slowed down. Tigres subbed out Rafael Carioca and Florian Thauvin for Carlos Gonzalez and Fulgencio Batista. Monterrey then subbed out Alfonso Gonzalez for Hector Moreno, in what was defensive move that predicted that they would try to hold on to the 1-0 lead. Monterrey hit the post with a header, but it was correctly ruled to have been offside. Tigres wasted a great opportunity when a cross into the area had Andrada coming out terribly to head it, but Carlos Gonzalez missed with a wide open header. Tigres had another chance when a great cross into the area by Quiñones was missed by Gonzalez. Then after another great counter attack, Meza made a run and got a great pass that was finished with a left footed shot by Matias Kranevitter past Guzman for the 2-0. The Tigres players, like in the Funes Mori called off goal, went to protest that the play started with Nicolas Lopez losing the ball and getting interfered by the referee, which started the counter. Tigres tried to get a goal but they wouldn’t be able and Monterrey got a deserved win.
Monterrey have finally gotten to the level many fans expected. There were high expectations since the arrival of Javier Aguirre, but it wasn’t until this week when they crushed Cruz Azul and now got a clear victory over their biggest rivals in Tigres where fans are finally happy with the level of play showed by their team. Monterrey now is looking like a legitimate title contender, in which they will benefit from their large talented squad. Tigres meanwhile have slowed down as the return from injury of Andre-Pierre Gignac has not been as smooth as expected. Still the main problem for Tigres is their weak defense, which once again suffered although to a lesser extent than their disastrous performance against Leon. Coach Miguel Herrera will need to work a lot because like Monterrey, they are expected to be doing better. Unfortunately as good an offense as they potentially have, they won’t get anywhere without a solid defense. They have the advantage of playing against a squad that might be perfect for them to get back in Pumas while Monterrey will face a tough squad in the also improving Toluca before traveling to Torreon to face another rival in Santos.