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Alfonso Gonzalez’ hat trick helps Monterrey crush Leon

Monterrey had their best performance of the season with a 5-1 drubbing of Leon.

Monterrey v Leon - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

Monterrey completely dominated a very poor Leon yesterday night to get a 5-1 win at home. Monterrey took advantage of a terrible first half from the visitors and were then able to hold off a slight rally to get the victory in their best performance of the season. Leon wasted the momentum after last week’s last minute victory over America, failing to show up against Monterrey and suffering an embarrassing loss. They will need to bounce back next week when they return home to face Mazatlan, while Monterrey will travel to Aguascalientes where they will face Necaxa.

The game started with both teams coming out with their best players barring injuries. At the three minute mark, a great run ended with Alfonso Gonzalez getting past his defenders and getting Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota to come out, allowing him to make a pass to German Berterame, who shot with his left foot into the empty net for the 1-0 lead. Monterrey came close to scoring again a minute later when Berterame found Gonzalez in the area, but his right footed shot went past Cota, but not a diving Stiven Barreiro, who was able to block the shot and allowed Cota to get the rebound. A minute later, it was Berterame who came close, but his shot in the area went just wide. Monterrey had a great start against a Leon team that was reeling. Leon slowly started to even the match, despite not creating much danger. Berterame got off a left-footed shot that was saved by Cota. Then, off of a great run into the area, Maximiliano Meza got a great cross to a wide open Alfonso Gonzalez, who was coming in and headed it past Cota for the 2-0 lead. About a minute later, an almost copycat play happened with Rogelio Funes Mori getting into the area and making a low pass to Gonzalez, who then got off a right footed shot from close range past Cota for the 3-0 lead for the hosts. In just a couple of minutes, it looked like Monterrey had settled the match against a Leon squad who was struggling mightily on the defensive end. Berterame had a chance when he got into the area in front of the defense, but it went right to Cota, wasting a good chance. Monterrey had a great chance with a three-on-two play, but unfortunately for them, Meza slipped in the area and could only head the ball back to Hector Moreno, who got off a shot that went well wide. Leon then had a good chance when a cross into the area found a wide open Osvaldo Rodriguez, but his close range header went wide. The halftime whistle blew as Monterrey had dominated a Leon club who had been but a shadow of themselves.

The second half started with Leon hoping to come back after their disastrous first half. After a volley was failed to be cleared, Byron Castillo was allowed to get off a right footed shot that went past Monterrey’s goalkeeper Luis Cardenas to make it 3-1. Luis Romo then got the ball in the area and was tripped, for which the ref gave a penalty kick. Rogelio Funes Mori stepped up to take the shot, but his right footed attempt was saved by Cota in a badly taken try. Victor Davila then got off a left-footed shot in the area that forced Cardenas to make a save. Later, a great pass found Davila in the area but his shot was blocked by Cardenas. After a corner kick, Fidel Ambriz got off a header that forced Cardenas to make a great save. After a great pass, Alfonso Gonzalez got into the area after lowering the ball brilliantly and got off a left-footed shot past Cota for the 4-1 lead. Gonzalez got his hat trick, and was easily the man of the match, being a part of all the goals. With the game out of reach, Monterrey subbed out Rogelio Funes Mori, Alfonso Gonzalez, and Maximiliano Meza for Rodrigo Aguirre, Jesus Gallardo, and Matias Kranevitter. Leon meanwhile subbed out Luis Montes, Victor Davila, and Angel Mena for Yairo Moreno, Alfonso Alvarado, and Elias Hernandez. The final Gonzalez goal had basically ended the match and although Leon tried, their fight was gone. Leon later subbed out Osvaldo Rodriguez and Byron Castillo for Oscar Villa and Jose Ramirez. Monterrey meanwhile subbed out Luis Romo and Erick Aguirre for Jacobo Reyes and Edson Gutierrez. In the next play, a free kick was headed by Rodrigo Aguirre past Luis Cardenas before Sergio Berterame kicked the ball over the line to score the 5-1. Replays showed that there could be a debate whether the goal had been scored by Berterame or Aguirre’s header had already gotten past the line when the former got to it, but was still Rayados’ fifth goal as they completed the rout.

Monterrey easily had their best match played so far this season. Leon were a good team who were coming off of a victory over America, and yet were totally dominated by Rayados. If anything, the 5-1 score could have had one or two more goals for both sides. Monterrey will need to continue but if they maintain this level, they will be one of the favorites to conquer the title. Leon was a disappointment, as they fell badly from the good play last Sunday where they defeated America. They had an improvement in the second half but after the fourth goal, they clearly gave up. They will have to improve in their next match, a home game against a Mazatlan side that will have the momentum after their victory over Chivas. Monterrey meanwhile will travel to face Necaxa, hoping to build on the improvement shown tonight.