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León give up late equalizer to league-leading Rayados after wasted chances

La Fiera were unable to take advantage of their opportunities and it resulted in Monterrey rescuing a key point on the road.

Leon v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

In what turned into a wasted opportunities clinic yesterday night, León failed to capitalize on their multiple approaches on goal with a 1-0 lead, which would’ve more than likely put the game out of reach from league leaders Rayados. In consequence, Vucetich’s squad got a ball into the box late in the match that resulted in a foul and PK which Duván Vergara took full advantage of, drawing his club even.

After a quick start by a dangerous Rayados club that saw Stefan Medina fire a tough shot from long distance that keeper Cota dealt with as best as possible, as well as Funes Mori hit the crossbar in what was an eventual offside ruling, it was the home side who took a quick lead in this one after a great long ball from Jaine Barreiro that found a streaking Lucas Di Yorio behind a distracted Rayados defense in just under 15 minutes of action.

As you’d expect, Rayados answered with high quality plays of their own, mainly thanks to Romo’s genius coupled with Berterame and Funes Mori’s skills on the ball. In the end, however, they were to no avail.

León then forced Andrada’s hand in a nice combination inside the box as Rayados’ defense had opened up looking for the equalizer, but no look was as clear as the one they got just into stoppage time in the first half, when Mena got a wide open ball down the middle of the pitch. After a great cutback to get Gallardo out of the way, Mena was just a couple feet outside the area and hit the ball straight to Andrada who sent it over the crossbar for a corner kick. In the ensuing corner, a ball to the far post was headed over Andrada’s reach back toward the center of the goal, but Romo got there first to clear before Frías could put it in.

In the second half, León continued its search for goal #2, and found itself dominating through the first portion of the half, creating chances that didn’t translate to any real danger thanks to Rayados’ defense. That much was true until the 68th minute, when a great combination between Dávila and Romero occurred on the right edge of the penalty area, resulting in a superb cross by Dávila himself in search of a wide open Di Yorio. The Argentine striker found himself inches outside the six-yard box, in the center with a beaten Andrada, and could not send it home. The ball was mistimed and went wide for a goal kick. See for yourself below.

The home side would struggle to create approaches from that point forward and the league leaders would pounce. After a couple warning calls, the punch came in the 81st minute, when Duván Vergara took the ball on the left side of the penalty area and put a move on Moreno, who arrived late to the party with his sliding tackle, handing Rayados a PK that Vergara himself converted perfectly.

To add insult to injury, León’s Frías was shown a second yellow and consequently sent off before play could resume, as well as head coach Larcamón. The truth is they have nobody to blame but themselves. All they did there was vent their frustration from not having taken advantage of their opportunities to seal it in the minutes prior. They know they had the match in the bag.

The draw puts Rayados 4 points clear of 2nd placed Toluca, Tigres, and (amazingly) Chivas and extends their unbeaten run to 8 matches. They now have 22 points out of a possible 27. León on the other hand, now find themselves 7th in the league table with 12 points, a far 6 behind Chivas for that last top 4 spot, but they could’ve come to within 7 points of Monterrey had they held on for the victory. Those points could come back to haunt them at season’s end.

Up next for Rayados is a home match against an inconsistent FC Juárez. León remain at home to face lowly Atlético de San Luis.