Cruz Azul edges Monterrey, advances to Mexican league final
Cruz Azul, which has not won a Liga MX title since 1997, edged Monterrey 1-0, advancing to the 2018 Apertura tournament final.
Argentine Milton Caraglio scored the lone goal in Saturday’s match in the 55th minute, giving Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha’s squad the win and a spot in the final.
Cruz Azul had to win after falling to Monterrey 1-0 in the first leg of the series.
Even though the clubs were tied 1-1 on aggregate and 0-0 in away goals, Cruz Azul advanced to the final with the victory because of its seeding.
Under Liga MX rules for the semifinals, Cruz Azul, the No. 1 seed, advanced because it was seeded higher than Monterrey, the No. 5 seed.
Cruz Azul, playing at home at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, went on the attack early, forcing Monterrey to respond on defense.
Monterrey winger Rodolfo Pizarro was injured and Colombian Doralan Pabon took his spot in the lineup, playing well and threatening to score in the 42nd minute.
In the second half, Cruz Azul put the pressure on Monterrey, finally getting on the scoreboard in the 55th minute when goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero failed to control the ball and Caraglio scored on a shot with his right foot.
Cruz Azul will play for the title next weekend against the winner of the series between America and the Pumas UNAM.
The two clubs, which played to a 1-1 tie in the first leg of their semifinals series, will take the field on Sunday.