Highlights: Mexico’s finals are set, and they have a familiar feel
We’ll have more on this later today, but before you get too deep into your Monday, it’s time to get you up-to-date on Mexico’s playoffs, with the Primera Division having ID’d the two clubs that will compete for the Clausura’s title.
The process played out on Sunday night, starting at the Technologico in Monterrey, where the CONCACAF champions welcomed a Club América side that was held to a scoreless draw mid-week at Estadio Azteca.
That scoreline held for less than eight minutes.
Jose Bastanta and Aldo De Negris put Monterrey on the verge of their third title in six tournaments, eliminating America 2-0 (agg.).
We pick it up at 1-1, with Apertura champions Tigres (in yellow) pouncing early:
With Tigres’ stingy playoff defense staked to a two-goal lead by Hector Mancilla, UANL looked destined for a second straight final. Amazingly, Tigres cracked at the finish line, allowing 86th and 89th minute goals to Oribe Peralta. Tied 3-3, the top-seeded Guerreros got through on the first tiebreaker: being the lower seed.
Like Monterrey, Santos are no strangers to the final. They’ve made three of the last four, but on the verge of becoming Mexico’s answer to the Buffalo Bills, the Guerreros have lost each time.
The second of those losses was to Monterrey in the 2010 Apertura. Mix in this year’s CONCACAF Champions League final and this will be the third time in two years the Rayados and Guerreros will play 180 minutes with silverware at stake.
Despite the redundancy, nobody’s looking at this as a Chelsea-Liverpool situation. These are clearly Mexico’s two best teams. Monterrey are confederation champions and possess the most talented (and, of late, the most decorated) team in the region. While the Guerreros lack Monterrey’s balance, they feature unmatched attacking talent - firepower that can take apart anybody (ask Tigres).
Expect the Rayados to be slight favorites. Their pedigree and Champions League’s results have earned that, but with Santos stinging from two consecutive tournament final losses, expect the Guerreros to be ready to toss a huge chip from their shoulder and into the fray.