Monterrey comes out on top for the Clásico del Norte to reach the Clausura Semi Final

Monterrey manage to get the better of their city rivals Tigres to claim a Clausura semi final berth.
Monterrey v Tigres UANL - Playoffs Torneo Clausura 2024 Liga MX
Monterrey v Tigres UANL - Playoffs Torneo Clausura 2024 Liga MX / Azael Rodriguez/GettyImages

Winning the aggregate tie 3-2, Los Rayados add their name to a semi final list that includes Club América, Chivas Guadalajara and Cruz Azul.

The result will disappoint Tigres, who were crowned the 2023 Liga MX Clausura Champions.

The First Leg

Moments after Samir missed an early glaring opportunity for Tigres, glancing his header wide of the Monterrey goal from five yards out, Los Rayados made them pay and opened the scoring.

Former Real Madrid, Real Betis and Valencia midfielder Sergio Canales opened the scoring for Monterrey after slotting the ball calmly into the right side of the net. The away side for this game won the ball back on the halfway line before passing it to Jorge Rodríguez, who perfectly weighted his pass into Canales to score the opening goal of the tie.

Opening the scoring in a hotly contested city rivalry, Canales celebrated by grabbing the Monterrey badge whilst encouraging the home Tigres supporters to 'calm down.'

Seconds before the halftime whistle Tigres were back in the game. From one former La Liga midfielder to another, former Real Betis winger Diego Lainez scored to level the scoreline.

Receiving the ball on the byline, Lainez made a sharp run onto his left foot. Finishing a great solo run, the 23-year-old pulled the trigger outside the box to beat Esteban Andrade at his near post.

The game had one final twist in the second half, coming in the 48' minute. Monterrey put themselves back in front straight after the halftime break. Maximiliano Meza was the goalscorer, scoring into an empty net after German Berterarme struck the post with a glaring chance yards from goal.

Tigres fought throughout the second half, but Fernando Ortiz's men stayed strong and held onto an impressive away win. The 2-1 first-leg win gave Los Rayados the advantage going into the return fixture this past weekend at their Estadio BBVA.

The Second Leg

The second leg started in the exact manner which Tigres would have wanted it to. Applying pressure high up the pitch, they had given Monterrey limited chances to feel relaxed in possession.

Their early pressure was rewarded before the half-hour mark. Capitalising from a deep corner, Monterrey failed to clear their lines as the ball fell nicely to legendary France striker André Pierre-Gignac. The former Marseille forward used the side of his foot whilst facing away from goal to beat Andrada in the Monterrey net.

As the rules in the Liga MX set that the higher seed would qualify if the game remains level after the two legs, the current 2-2 scoreline would result in Monterrey qualifying for the semi final. This means that Tigres continued to press forward in search of an extra goal.

Both sides had their chances, but it was Monterrey who had the better of them after Tigres broke the scoring in the second leg.

On the hour mark, Monterrey gave themselves an extra sense of comfort by tying the game, making it 1-1 on the night but 3-2 on aggregate.

Unfortunately for Tigres, the goal was another tap-in that fell into the path of Jordi Cortizo. Canales found himself in arches of space outside the box and decided to have a shot. The Spaniard watched on as his effort struck the post. As the ball came back out, it fell perfectly to Cortizo in the box and in the middle of the pitch. Not having time to think about his rebound, the second-half substitute could not believe his luck when he had an open net to slot the ball into.

Tigres continued to press on in search of a dramatic comeback. However, their chances failed to test Andrade in the Monterrey net as they secured their spot at the expense of Tigres in the final four.

The semi-final will see Monterrey face Cruz Azul in a doubleheader this week. The first game will be in the northern city On Thursday 16th May, at 21:00CST. The return fixture will be in the capital on Sunday 19th May, at 18:00 CST.