‘Regiomontano’ rivals sit atop Liga MX table after hard-fought wins

Germán Berterame celebrates after scoring a late winner against Necaxa. the 2-1 win keeps Monterrey atop the Liga MX table with 21 points from 8 games. (Photo by JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Germán Berterame celebrates after scoring a late winner against Necaxa. the 2-1 win keeps Monterrey atop the Liga MX table with 21 points from 8 games. (Photo by JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images) /
Liga MX M8 sat results
Nicolás Ibáñez helped Tigres overcome the absence of the injured André-Pierre Gignac, scoring the lone goal in the club’s 1-0 win at Atlas. The result boosts Tigres into second place in the Liga Mx standings. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images) /

Monterrey waited until late but still extended its win streak to seven straight while crosstown rivals Tigres blanked Atlas to keep pace with the Rayados at the top of the Liga MX table.

The Rayados dominated visiting Necaxa but failed to take advantage of numerous opportunities to put the game away early. Arturo González saw his minute 20 goal wiped out for offside then former Rayo star Rodrigo Aguirre missed a penalty kick just before the half.

Right on the hour mark, Rogelio Funes Mori tapped home a perfect cross from Germán Berterame to put Monterrey ahead but Necaxa was granted a penalty 11 minutes later and Edgar Méndez converted to equalize.

In stoppage time, Berterame eluded his marker on a corner kick and contorted his body to head home the winner and push the Rayados’ win streak to seven games. Monterrey is now 7-0-1 and its 21 points is good for first place.

Tigres show off league’s best defense

Playing at Atlas and without top striker André-Pierre Gignac, Tigres blanketed Julio Furch and Julián Quiñones and prevented the Zorros’ terrific tandem from threatening Nahuel Guzmán.

Quiñones hit the post in minute 31 but otherwise Samir Caetano and Igor Lichnovsky kept the pair from getting a sniff at goal.

Just before the break, Javier Aquino lofted a cross to the back post and Nicolás Ibáñez leaped over his marker to bang home a header and that was the only goal Tigres would need.

Atlas players screamed at ref Adonai Escobedo after the goal and again after the whistle blew marking the end of the half. Video replay showed why. Zorros defender Anderson Santamaría had knocked the ball out of bounds of Ibáñez but the throw-in was awarded to Tigres and four passes later the ball was in the back of the net.

That wouldn’t be the only time Atlas had cause to curse at Escobedo though none of his other bad calls impacted the scoreboard.

In minute 72, Sebastián Córdova squandered a chance to put the game away as his penalty kick was stopped by Camilo Vargas.

The rugged Tigres defense held Atlas to two shots on goal and their 4 goals conceded is fewest in Liga MX. “Los felinos” are now 5-3-0, good for second place. The 8-game unbeaten start to this Liga MX season is the best for Tigres since the northern giants opened the Apertura 2016 6-5-0. Tigres went on to win the Liga MX title that season.

Elsewhere in Liga MX

In Mexico City, the Chivas got off to a quick start then held on to defeat the Pumas 2-1.

Daniel Ríos scored his first Liga MX goal in minute 6 since joining from Charlotte FC and Carlos Cisneros added a second in minute 33. UNAM started its fight-back early in the second half before scoring in minute 76 but “El Rebaño Sagrado” held on for the win.

The win lifts Guadalajara into fourth place pending América’s result on Sunday. The Chivas have 15 points (4-3-1) while the Pumas are looking up from 11th place (8 points, from a 2-2-4 record).

Santos Laguna came away from San Luis Potosí with a hard-earned point, escaping Estadio Alfonso Lastras with a 1-1 draw against the host Tuneros.

Atlético de San Luis opened the scoring in minute 31 when Mateo Klimowicz lashed home a lovely pass from Leo Bonatini. The Guerreros equalized in minute 56 when Lucas González tapped in from in close after a nifty feed from Juan Brunetta.

Both teams remain smack dab in the middle of the Liga MX table with 9 points from 7 games.

Next. Snakebitten JJ Macías injures knee again. dark

Matchday 8 continues Sunday with three matches: Mazatlán FC visits Querétaro in a battle for last place; América hosts Tijuana and former Aguilas coach Miguel Herrera; and, Toluca visits Pachuca in a Liga MX Finals rematch.