Monterrey beat América 4-2 on penalties to claim the Apertura 2019 title following a 3-3 aggregate draw in the Gran Final.
The Rayados had won the first leg, 2-1, but América dominated the second leg. An early would-be goal for the Águilas was disallowed for handball, but they had the ball in the net again minutes later through Federico Viñas; his 5th-minute goal stood to make it 1-0 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate.
América then appeared to take the aggregate lead in the 24th minute through Roger Martínez, but after VAR review the goal was disallowed. The hosts kept pressing, though, and they got their reward in the 40th minute when Richard Sánchez scored from outside the box to make it 2-0 (3-2 aggregate).
The Apertura 2019 Liga MX champion will be crowned this Sunday when América hosts Monterrey in the second leg of the Gran Final.
The Rayados earned a 2-1 victory in the first leg, meaning they’ll take the title with a win or a draw in this one; the Águilas will need to win by one to send the series to extra time, and by two to claim the crown outright. There are no tiebreakers in the final, so away goals are not a factor.
América overturned first-leg deficits in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, and will look to do the same here en route to what would be a record-setting 14th championship, while Monterrey will look to hold their advantage as they aim for their 5th league title.
América took the lead but couldn’t hold it as Monterrey fought back for a 2-1 victory in the first leg of the Apertura 2019 Gran Final.
The first-half was a hard-fought affair, with more fouls – 18 of them – than goal-scoring chances. Monterrey looked more dangerous in possession, but when the opening goal came, it was for the visitors. Late in the half, Henry Martín played Federico Viñas in on goal; with Marcelo Barovero beaten, the unfortunate Carlos Rodríguez mis-hit an intended clearance to send the ball into his own net. His own-goal made it 0-1 for the Águilas in the 44th minute.
After a two-and-a-half week hiatus, the Liga MX playoffs resume this week with the Gran Final. Monterrey, who is fresh off winning third place in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, will host the first leg of the final against Club América this Thursday.
The 8th-seeded Rayados upset superlíder Santos Laguna with a 6-3 aggregate win in the quarterfinals before beating Necaxa 3-1 on aggregate in the semifinals; the Águilas, seeded 6th, had a bumpier road to the finals, as they had to overturn first-leg deficits in both the quarterfinals, against Tigres UANL, and the semifinals, against Monarcas Morelia.
Monterrey will now look for their fifth league title – and their first since the Apertura 2010 – while América is aiming for a record-setting 14th championship.
The final is a total goals, aggregate score series; away goals are not tiebreakers.
América earned a 2-0 victory against Monarcas Morelia in the second leg of their semifinal series to level the aggregate at 2-2. With away goals not coming into play, the Águilas earned a place in the Gran Final thanks to the higher-seed tiebreaker.
América came into this one needing to score at least two goals, and they went on the attack from the beginning. The breakthrough came in the 37th minute, when Renato Ibarra’s shot from outside the box took a deflection off the defense and beat Sebastián Sosa to make it 1-0 (1-2 aggregate).
The Apertura 2019 Gran Final is set, and it’ll be 6th-seeded América taking on 8th-seeded Monterrey.
América reached the final after comebacks against Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals and Monarcas Morelia in the semis, while Monterrey got there by upsetting superlíder Santos in the quarterfinals before beating Necaxa in the semis.
Due to Monterrey’s participation in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, where they’ll be representing the confederation after winning the CONCACAF Champions League, the Liga MX playoff schedule had to be adjusted.
The Rayados will host the first leg on December 26th, while América will host the return leg on December 29th.
Monterrey scored late in stoppage time to beat Necaxa 1-0 on the right and assure their spot in the Gran Final with a 3-1 aggregate victory. The Rayados’ win means there will be an adjustment to the playoff schedule, since they’ll be playing in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup next week; as a result, the Liga MX final will be delayed by two weeks and played on December 26th and 29th.
The pressure was on Necaxa in this one; they needed to score to advance, while Monterrey would go through with a 0-0 draw. Nevertheless, it was the visitors who looked more dangerous in the attack. In the 14th minute, Jesús Gallardo was denied by the offside flag as Monterrey looked to seal the series.
While both teams finished the first leg of this semifinal series with 10 men, Morelia had a numerical advantage for most of the second half and they made it count as they grabbed a 2-0 victory against América.
Morelia came out attacking as they looked to make their home-field advantage count, and they had some early chances, most notably when Edison Flores tested Memo Ochoa in the 8th minute. Then, in the 16th, Rodrigo Millar played Luis Mendoza in behind the defense; he drove towards goal and then slid the ball across the top of the six-yard box for Fernando Aristeguieta, who stabbed it home.
Among numerous controversies including player complaints of unpaid salaries totaling nearly 40 million pesos (about $207,000 U.S.), the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) and Liga MX have taken the step of disaffiliating Veracruz.
The Tiburones Rojos are no longer part of the league, effective immediately; all players, from the first team, the women’s team, and the youth teams, are all free agents and can sign with any other team.
With Veracruz no longer in Liga MX, the Clausura 2020 will be played with 18 teams and there will be no relegation at the end of the season – although promotion from Ascenso MX will still be in effect, as Liga MX continues to work towards a stable 20-team first division.
Monterrey took, lost, and regained the lead as they beat Necaxa 2-1 in the first leg of their Apertura 2019 semifinal series.
Necaxa had the best road record in the league in the regular season – with six wins from nine games – and they came out attacking as they looked to keep their good road form going in this one. But after a promising five minutes from the Rayos, Monterrey took control of the game and they took the lead in the 10th minute.