Monterrey tops Santos Laguna 1-0 in quarter-finals of Mexican soccer playoffs

EFE

Argentine striker Rogelio Funes Mori scored on a bicycle kick in the second half to lead Monterrey to a 1-0 first-leg victory over Santos Laguna in the quarter-finals of the Mexican soccer league's Apertura 2018 playoffs.

Funes Mori set up the impressive strike by bouncing a pass from Carlos Rodriguez off his chest and high enough in the air to allow him to unleash the overhead scissors kick.

Prior to that stunning goal, both sides had had several chances to score over the first hour of play Wednesday night at BBVA Bancomer Stadium in this northern city.

The fifth-seeded hosts entered Santos' area in the seventh minute, but goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco kicked off a strong night between the sticks by saving an attempt by Rodolfo Pizarro.

Just a minute later, the visitors came close to opening the scoring when Jonathan Rodriguez delivered a pass to Julio Furch, although the Argentine was unable to convert that opportunity.

Fourth-seeded Santos then had its best chance of the game in the 59th minute when Jesus Gallardo made a goal-line stop to deny what seemed to be a score by Furch.

Funes Mori opened the scoring a minute later and then had an excellent chance for a brace, but Brazilian defender Doria and Orozco managed to keep the ball out of the goal.

Monterrey now is in a strong position heading into the Dec. 1 second leg since it is assured of a berth in the semi-finals with a win or a draw.

In fact, after not allowing Santos to score an away goal, the Rayados can even book a final-four berth with a loss by a one-goal margin provided they score at least once at Corona Stadium in Torreon.

In other Apertura 2018 quarter-final first-leg action Wednesday night, top-seeded Cruz Azul downed Queretaro 2-0 in Queretaro City.

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