In the first leg of this historic Clásico Regio Gran Final, Tigres UANL and Monterrey played to a 1-1 draw. It was a hard-fought game in wintry weather, with both rain and hail falling over the course of the 90 minutes – conditions that didn’t deter the 41,602 fans who were present in the Volcán.
The visitors took an early lead from a set piece. In the 8th minute, Dorlan Pabón sent a corner kick to the near post, where Nicolás Sánchez nodded the ball on. Nahuel Guzmán couldn’t keep it out and Monterrey had the 0-1 lead.
The Apertura 2017 Gran Final is a historic affair, with regional rivals Monterrey and Tigres UANL directly contesting the Liga MX title for the first time. Although there have been Clásico Regios in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the playoffs before, this is the first time the Rayados and the universitarios will go head-to-head in the final.
Tigres finished the regular season in second and advanced past 7th-seeded León in the quarterfinals and 3rd-seeded América in the semis, while Monterrey was the superlíder and beat 8th-seeded Atlas and then 4th-seeded Morelia.
Tigres will host the first leg of the Gran Final on Thursday, while Monterrey will host the decisive second leg on Sunday.
Monterrey earned a comprehensive 4-0 victory against Monarcas Morelia in the second leg of their semifinal series to put the Rayados into the Gran Final with a 5-0 aggregate win.
It didn’t take the Rayados long to add to their aggregate lead, with Monterrey making it 1-0 (2-0) in just the 9th minute. Hugo González sent a long clearance to Rogelio Funes Mori, who let the ball bounce and then sent his volleyed shot past Sebastián Sosa.
The semifinals have wrapped up and the Apertura 2017 finalists have been determined. The top two seeds advanced to the final, and Monterrey and Tigres UANL will now face off to determine the Apertura 2017 Liga MX Champion.
This will be the first Clásico Regio Gran Final; the two regional rivals have never before faced off in a Liga MX final, although they have played each other five times in other rounds of the Liguilla.
Monterrey earned a 0-1 away win against Monarcas Morelia in the first leg of their semifinal series thanks to a first-half penalty.
Monarcas started the game well in front of their home fans, who packed the Estadio Morelos. The hosts had the first good chance of the game in just the 3rd minute, when Rodrigo Millar saw his shot hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.
A controversial penalty kick gave Tigres UANL a 0-1 away win against América in the first leg of their semifinal series.
The visiting universitarios put the pressure on from the start, with André-Pierre Gignac forcing a good save out of Agustín Marchesín in the third minute. Marchesín was then called into action against Eduardo Vargas, with the keeper making a fingertip save to keep Tigres off the board in the 12th minute.
In the second leg of their Clásico Joven quarterfinal series, América and Cruz Azul once again played out a high-intensity but goalless draw. With the aggregate stubbornly remaining 0-0, América advanced due to the higher seed tiebreaker.
Cruz Azul traveled to the Estadio Azteca obligated to score; a draw would be enough for them so long as they managed an away goal. La Máquina had chances, with Francisco Silva sending a free kick towards the upper left corner, only for Guido Rodríguez to head the ball clear. Later, Felipe Mora forced a good save out of Agustín Marchesín with his point-blank header.
The quarterfinals wrapped up this Sunday with all four higher seeds advancing. Monterrey, the superlíder, was the only team to win their quarterfinal series outright, with Tigres UANL, América, and Monarcas Morelia all needing tiebreakers to advance after aggregate draws.
Those four teams will now face off in the semifinals this week, with the first legs in midweek and the return legs over the weekend. Tigres and América will play Wednesday and Saturday, with Monterrey and Morelia playing Thursday and Sunday.
The complete schedule and match-ups are as follows: