Aguilas overrun visiting Rayados; León wins at Pachuca

Nico Castillo scored twice for América to help the Aguilas beat Monterrey in the season opener. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Nico Castillo scored twice for América to help the Aguilas beat Monterrey in the season opener. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /

Opening weekend in the Liga MX continued with five games on Saturday, including a real cracker of a game in Estadio Azteca.

América scored two second-half goals and pounded Monterrey into submission in an early season statement game in the Liga MX Apertura 2019. Nico Castillo scored twice and Renato Ibarra ran rampant down the right wing all night to help the Aguilas overcome the Rayados’ fast start at Estadio Azteca.

Earlier, León picked up where they left off during the Clausura 2019 regular season, spanking Pachuca to end the Tuzos’ 16-game unbeaten streak at the Estadio Hidalgo. The Esmeraldas have now won 14 of their past 15 regular-season matches as Ismael Sosa, José Juan Macías and newcomer Leo Ramos scored for the visitors.

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Aguilas 4, Rayados 2

Nico Castillo scored twice, including the game-winner in minute 49 when the Monterrey defense got caught out and left the Chilean all alone in front of goal. Aguilas winger Renato Ibarra found the burly striker with a perfect cross and Castilllo powered home a header. Colombian Roger Martínez added an insurance goal in minute 77 when he collected the rebound of a blast by Ibarra and fired home from close range.

The visiting Rayados scored 8 minutes into the game and squandered several good scoring chances as América keeper Agustín Marchesín was spectacular, making 5 saves on the night. Castillo scored from the penalty spot to even the match in minute 17 and Matheus Uribe put América ahead two minutes later. Avilés Hurtado equalized in minute 31 as the two teams went into the half tied 2-2 after an exciting opening 45 minutes.

Pachuca 1, León 3

Ismael Sosa scored off his own rebound just minutes after he was denied a goal after making a clean steal that was whistled as a foul. José Juan Macías converted a penalty kick in minute 38 after missing a scoring chance early in the first half when his shot banged off the right post.

Aguilas outclass Monterrey
This was a familiar sight last season – León players celebrating after a goal. The Esmeraldas led the league in scoring last season. (Photo by Jam Media/Getty Images) /

León dominated the first half but was on the back foot most of the second half and it got worse when Carlos Guerrero was ejected in minute 71. Pachuca narrowed the lead in minute 80 when Franco Jara scored from the penalty spot.

The visiting Esmeraldas clinched the win in minute 89 when second-half sub Leo Ramos fired home to finish off a León fast break. It was the first setback at home for the Tuzos who did not lose at Estadio Hidalgo all last season. It was their first home loss since August of last year, putting an end to their 16-game unbeaten streak at Estadio Hidalgo.

Necaxa 0, Cruz Azul 0

Aguilas beat Monterrey: Matchday 1
Cruz Azul striker mishits a header under pressure from Necaxa defender Alexis Peña as the two teams played to a scoreless draw in Aguascalientes. (Photo: VICTOR CRUZ/AFP/Getty Images) /

Just one week after getting spanked by the Cementeros (4-0) in the SuperCopa MX, the host Rayos settled for a scoreless draw despite playing with a man advantage for the final 20 minutes. Each team missed a penalty and the video assistant referee played an active role in the game. Cruz Azul was denied a penalty in the first half by VAR, then saw a goal wiped away by VAR when video showed that Édgar Méndez had entered the box too early as teammate Milton Caraglio took a penalty kick. Necaxa goalie Hugo González blocked Caraglio’s shot and Méndez swept the rebound home, only for the goal to be taken away. Necaxa forward Maxi Salas thumped his penalty shot over the crossbar after his breakaway had resulted in the penalty call and the ejection of defender Julio César Domínguez.

Atlético San Luis 0, Pumas 2

Carlos González scored in minute 78 when the Pumas striker arguably should have been tossed from the game in minute 21. The Paraguayan had picked up a yellow card in minute 9 for clearing space with an elbow. Just 12 minutes later, he threw another elbow that caught Tuneros defender Unai Bilbao in the face but ref Diego Montaño declined to show a second yellow.

Pumas defender Luis Quintana headed home a corner kick in minute 88 and UNAM returns home with all 3 points. Former Real Madrid star Michel González won in his first game in charge of the Pumas.

Tigres 4, Morelia 2

Luis Quiñones assisted on all three goals first-half goals as the host Tigres rushed out to a 3-0 halftime lead. Morelia was outmatched and outplayed most of the match but the Monarcas fought back to make it 3-2 when Gaston Lazcano headed past Tigres goalie Nahuel Guzmán in minute 88. Javier Aquino scored his second of the night to secure the 3 points for the Tigres, firing inside the far post from the top of box 4 minutes into added time.