After a rough-and-tumble 90 minutes, the “Clásico Regiomontano” will resume on Saturday with the score all even as No. 1 seed Monterrey and No. 7 Tigres battled to a 1-1 draw.
Monterrey’s Maxi Meza put the visitors ahead in minute 35 with a long free kick that surprised Tigres goalie Nahuel Guzmán who was expecting a centering pass not a shot on goal.
Sebastián Córdova answered for the hosts 5 minutes after halftime, cleverly redirecting a Javier Aquino cross.
Córdova has now scored in all four Tigres playoff games this season and he had a second goal annulled by VAR for offside in minute 60, a snappy volley that sent the home fans into delirium until VAR silenced their celebration.
Tigres control the ball, but see few scoring chances
The hosts dominated possession in the early going and looked dangerous on a few set pieces, but could not find room in Monterrey’s defensive third.
Tigres held the ball for 65% of the first half but managed just two shots, only one of which was on target.
Monterrey was content to play the long ball in hopes of creating transition offense but ref Fernando Guerrero overlooked physical play and Tigres defenders took advantage, roughing up Rayados players trying to move forward.
Meza’s goal momentarily flustered “los felinos” and the Argentine winger blasted another free kick that forced a reflex save by Guzman a few minutes later.
After Córdova equalized, the hosts continued to press forward, finding space down the wings but Monterrey’s defense remained disciplined. The Rayados limited their crosstown rivals to five shots on the night, just two shots on goal.
As the clock wound down, the game opened up a bit with both teams chasing the go-ahead goal. Monterrey forced another big save from Guzmán in minute 85 but ref Guerrero’s permissiveness allowed both teams to clutch and grab and lean into clattering tackles.
Guerrero showed the yellow card seven times during the match (three Tigres and four Rayados were cautioned) and he whistled 30 fouls (16 by “los felinos,” 14 by Monterrey) though he might have called twice that though none of the heavy contact was egregious.
Saturday’s match will feature plenty of walking wounded and the team that advances will likely have their physics to thank.