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Cruz Azul and Monterrey battle to scoreless tie in first leg of Quarterfinals

Cruz Azul and Monterrey had a lively match that ended with a 0-0 score that benefits Rayados.

Cruz Azul v Monterrey - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images

Cruz Azul and Rayados had a lively match at times, but in the end it remained a 0-0 match. The score is a huge benefit to Monterrey, who have the better record and thus an aggregate tie would end up giving them the ticket into the Semifinals. Cruz Azul had the slightly better chances, but in the end neither team dominated and the score was a fair result. They will face each other on Saturday for the second leg in Monterrey.

The first half started with both teams coming in with their best available lineups, although Rogelio Funes Mori was on the bench to start the match for the visitors as he was still injured. Rodrigo Aguirre got the first opportunity when he got the ball in the area, but his shot was blocked by defender Juan Escobar. Cruz Azul wasted a great chance when the ball fell in the area but Julio Cesar Dominguez got off a terrible right footed shot that went completely wide. Cruz Azul almost got scored on when a cross into the area to Luis Romo had Cruz Azul’s goalkeeper Jesus Corona doing a terrible job of tying to get to the ball, instead crashing into Romo while the ball bounced off from Escobar and toward the net, but he was able to make a good run to clear the ball off the line before the goal was scored. A cross into the area was headed by German Berterame, but Corona came up with a good save. Cruz Azul had a couple of good attacks, but they didn’t turn into chances. Ignacio Rivero then got the ball in the area and was wide open, but his shot went wide and although he seemed to have been brought down by Erick Aguirre, no call was given. After a lively encounter, the game remained scoreless and both teams looked to improve.

The second half started with Cruz Azul subbing out injured Gonzalo Carneiro for Michael Estrada. A clash of heads early in the half between Rodrigo Aguirre and Luis Abram ended with the Cruz Azul defender needing a head wrap for the remainder of the match. A great cross into the area was missed by Berterame as he tried to head the ball. After a rebound off of a corner kick fell to Carlos Rodriguez, he got off a right footed shot that almost got deflected in. A great chance happened when Estrada got the ball in the area and got by Monterrey’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada, but then had his shot go wide as he didn’t have the best angle to shoot at the empty net. Cruz Azul then subbed out Carlos Rotondi for Christian Tabo, while Rayados subbed out Rodrigo Aguirre and Alfonso Gonzalez for the return of Rogelio Funes Mori and Rodolfo Pizarro. Off of a free kick, Rivero got off a great shot that hit the post. A cross into the area found Pizarro, but his left footed shot went wide in a bad miss for Monterrey. Cruz Azul then subbed out Uriel Antuna for Angel Romero. Monterrey subbed out Maximiliano Meza and Luis Romo for Matias Kranevitter and Sebastian Vegas. The match continued into stoppage time, and Rayados was able to hold on to get a key tie to take home to Monterrey.

Coach Victor Manuel Vucetich must be happy with the scoreless tie. Monterrey right now has the upper hand in having the benefit of the aggregate score and that Cruz Azul will now face a must win away to Rayados. A tie by any score will get Monterrey into the Semifinals as away goals are no longer use to to determine which team goes through. Cruz Azul showed some moments and were more urgent, but in the end they produced little danger and will have a tough task in Monterrey. While that they have bounced back under new coach Raul Gutierrez, their only loss since he arrived was away to Monterrey by a 3-2 score, the team and the place where they will have to go to get a win to make jt through. It seems a tough order, and Rayados are in prime position to get to the next round.