The Rayados came out attacking as they looked to make their home-field advantage count, and Rogelio Funes Mori had a very early chance saved by Nahuel Guzmán. Tigres did not sit back to defend, but pressed forward themselves, and Luis Quiñones had a good chance in the 12th minute but his attempt was high.
Just a minute later, Monterrey took the lead. In the 13th minute, Miguel Layún cut the ball back to Dorlan Pabón at the top of the box and he made no mistake with his shot to make it 1-0 for the hosts.
Tigres pressed forward in search of an equalizer – and a valuable away goal – but their chances went begging; first, Jesús Dueñas in the 19th minute, then Enner Valencia in the 21st.
In the second half, the Rayados stood firm defensively but ceded the initiative to Tigres. The visitors, needing a goal, were forced to stretch their lines and that left space for Monterrey to use on the counter.
The universitarios found opportunities through André-Pierre Gignac, Javier Aquino, and Quiñones, but good defending by John Stefan Medina and Nicolás Sánchez impeded them, and the breakthrough wouldn’t come.
At the other end, Monterrey had a few opportunities to add to their lead through Maximiliano Meza and Jesús Gallardo, but in the end they were held to just a single goal.
With the 1-0 win, Monterrey will advance to the final with a win or draw in Saturday’s second leg; they would also move on with a one-goal loss, so long as they score. A 1-0 win would do it for Tigres, thanks to the higher-seed tiebreaker, but if Monterrey scores they will need to win by two to advance.