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Club América defeat Monterrey at home in a thrilling match at the Azteca

Luis Malagon was the star of the night and makes it clear why he's now the number one goalkeeper.

America v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

América managed to hand Monterrey their second defeat of the season and keep all three points despite their head coach’s absecne seeing as he served his suspension picked up last week against León. The visitors may have scored first, but América were able to make a comeback and seal a win at home as they attempt to finish off the last part of the season with momentum.

America had their first opportunity of the game in the 4th minute when Alejandro Zendejas went up the right side into the box, where he got the ball off to Henry Martin, who was immediately engulfed by blue jerseys, and Jonathan ‘Cabecita’ Rodríguez’s shot was blocked for the first corner of the match. Monterrey had their first chance right after, but it led to nothing as América’s defense was able to clear. A few minutes later on a counter, Monterrey came close to the first goal of the night when Alfonso González hit a ball that deflected off Miguel Layún for a corner which was eventually cleared out of the area. Just minutes after that, Monterrey opened the scoring at the Azteca.

Germán Berterame took the ball up the right side and passed it off to Luis Romo who took the initial shot that Ángel Malagón managed to block at first, but the rebound landed at the feet of Maximiliano Meza who put the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the night.

A couple minutes later, Israel Reyes had the chance to equalize when Monterrey goalkeeper Esteban Andrada had trouble hanging onto the ball, but was able to get it before Reyes put it in. It wasn’t until the 31st minute that there was a controversial call. Henry Martin fell inside the penalty area, and the replay showed it was a tight call. Héctor Moreno was the one who stopped Martin and it’s hard to tell if the penalty should’ve been called, but the play should’ve at least gone to VAR where the referee could’ve made the call himself. In spite of this, América equalized just 5 minutes later.

Diego Valdes capitalized on a costly mistake by Andrada who appeared to try to save the ball from going out of his area, but was unable to get ahold of the ball, resulting in it going to Valdes who didn’t hesitate to put it away and level the game. This isn’t the last mistake the Monterrey keeper would make and the half finished level at 1-1.

Even with a goal in the first half, América did not perform well and Monterrey looked like the better team. That changed in the second half as the home team came out with a change that eventually helped them win the game. The first chance in the half went to América, who had a chance one minute in but Diego Valdes’s shot went straight to the arms of Andrada. From that moment on, America took control of the game. Monterrey had chances, but the América defense was able to hold on despite being shaky at moments. Rogelio Funes Mori had the best opportunity of the half when he took a shot on goal, but Malagón was able to get a touch on it and both Reyes and Layún were there to protect the ball from a rebound. This chance Funes Mori had was rare as he disappeared for most of the night.

It wasn’t until the 76th minute when things changed for América. Henry Martin was subbed out for Federico Viñas and that was a change many felt was wrong. At least that was until a few minutes later when Viñas scored.

Valdes sent in a ball to Viñas who was immediately surrounded by two blue jerseys and Andrada stepping up as well, but that did nothing to stop Viñas from kicking the ball into the back of the net to take the lead and make the Azteca explode. That goal shifted something in Monterrey, who then started attacking and found themselves with countless opportunities to equalize. That opportunity came in the 86th minute when Sebastian Cáceres made contact with Duván Vergara in the penalty area. It was a clear foul as he pushed the player down with his left arm. It was now up to Malagón to save the day and he did. He guessed right on Joao Rojas’s equalizer attempt. However, the penalty should’ve been retaken as Richard Sánchez started to run up before Rojas kicked the ball. Who knows if the penalty would’ve gone in, but it should have been retaken and America caught a break.

As the game was wrapping up, Monterrey had one last opportunity to score, but it led to nothing. On the counter, Álvaro Fidalgo had the ball and as Andrada came up to midfield, Fidalgo decided to go for the shot from far away, but Andrara blocked the ball with his hands. The keeper was immediately sent off as he wasn’t close to his box and will now miss the next match because of it.

With the three points, América not only won the game, but also solidified their position in the postseason. How they finish off the remaining three games will determine if they go to the repechaje or once again straight to the liguilla. Next, they play Cruz Azul in the Clásico Capitalino while Monterrey face Santos at home.