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.
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.
Santos Laguna was unable to overcome the first-leg deficit as they drew 1-1 with Monterrey in the second leg of their quarterfinal series, a result that sees the Rayados advance with a 6-3 aggregate victory.
The superlíder had a tough task ahead of them after falling 5-2 in Thursday’s first leg, but Santos was the highest-scoring team in the Apertura regular season and was unbeaten in their nine home games, so there was a bit of hope for the Guerreros. They came out looking for an early goal to shake things up, and they were able to reduce the aggregate deficit when Brian Lozano scored from outside the box in the 17th minute to make it 1-0 (3-5).
Monterrey took a commanding lead in their quarterfinal series with a 5-2 victory against the superlíder, Santos Laguna.
The game started off perfectly for the hosts, who took the lead just 1 minute 26 seconds after kickoff. Dorlan Pabón put the Rayados in front with a shot from outside the box into the upper corner, putting Santos Laguna in an immediate hole.
Monterrey grabbed the last available playoff spot with a 2-0 victory against Atlas. The Rayados needed a win to guarantee their place in the postseason, and they got it, extending their unbeaten streak to five games in the process, while the Rojinegros saw their Apertura end with a four-game losing streak.
Monterrey came out attacking and their pressure soon paid off. In the 7th minute, Jesús Gallardo brought the ball to the end line before cutting it back to an unmarked Rogelio Funes Mori at the top of the box; his left-footed shot arced past the goalkeeper to give the Rayados the early 1-0 lead.
Monterrey beat 10-man Tijuana 0-4 away to keep their playoff hopes alive while complicating Tijuana’s. The result keeps the Rayados unbeaten in four while the Xolos have now lost two in a row.
The game changed in the 21st minute, when, after VAR review, Jordan Silva was red-carded for a foul on Rogelio Funes Mori in the box. Not only were Tijuana down to 10, but they were facing a penalty kick. Nicolas Sánchez put away the spot kick to make it 0-1 for Monterrey.
Monterrey kept their playoff hopes alive – and complicated Pachuca’s – with a 2-3 away win on Wednesday night. The result snaps a four-game winless streak for the Rayados, while the Tuzos have now lost three in a row.
Both teams came out attacking and there were chances at either end, but the visitors were the first to capitalize. In the 10th minute, Monterrey won a corner kick; Dorlan Pabón sent it toward the near post, Rodrigo Rey couldn’t make the clearance, and Nicolás Sánchez finished it off to give the Rayados the 0-1 lead.
Monterrey took the lead but couldn’t hold it as Chivas de Guadalajara came back for a 1-1 draw. The result snaps a two-game losing streak for the Rayados – but keeps them winless in four – while El Rebaño remains unbeaten in two but winless in five.
Antonio Mohamed was looking to get Monterrey back on track in his return to the bench for the Rayados, and at first it looked like he might start his second tenure off with a win. The hosts had chances from the opening whistle and it didn’t take long for them to find the breakthrough.
Monterrey has announced Antonio Mohamed as their new head coach, replacing Diego Alonso.
Mohamed previously coached the Rayados from 2015-2018; he led them to the league final twice, but couldn’t win them a Liga MX title – although he did win the Apertura 2017 Copa MX with Monterrey.
The Rayados have been struggling in league play this season; they’re currently sitting 14th with five wins, seven losses, and one draw, and a home loss to rivals Tigres UANL in the Clasico Regio was the last straw for Alonso’s tenure.