Monterrey earned a date in the semifinals versus Club America with an impressive 2-0 victory at the Estadio Jalisco against Atlas. It is now 63 years since Atlas’s last championship title.
From the start, the decision of the Monterrey manager, Carlos Barra, to keep several of his veteran players like Humberto Suazo on the bench was questioned by many. It was a ballsy move, but it completely paid off.
For this game, Monterrey received the good news that Dorlan Pabon would be back from injury, and it didn’t take him long to make an impact. In the 9th minute, after a short sequence of passes, Pabon forced Federico Vilar to a spectacular save.
Pabon was simply amazing. He dictated the rhythm of the game with his impressive runs, and he was a constant danger in Monterrey’s attack.
In the 30th minute, the Mexican-international, Luis Gerardo Venegas, would commit a clumsy tackle inside the box for a penalty. Pabon would execute perfectly to put Monterrey within one goal of the semifinals.
Atlas strength was always going to be their midfield, but they were simply outclassed today. The Atlas manager,Tomas Boy, opted to defend their 2-goal advantage early, and it proved costly.
In the 70th minute, Pabon launched a beautiful through-ball to Candido Ramirez. Ramirez had the option to cross or shoot to Vilar’s near post. He chose the latter and it was well worth it, scoring an impressive goal. His goal meant Monterrey was up 2-1 on aggregate.
Carlos Barra reaped in the rewards of his team-selection, and Atlas had no answer. The Rojinegros needed 2 goals to advance, but their final push forward proved futile. At the final whistle, the Atlas fans left a packed Estadio Jalisco with nothing to celebrate about.
Monterey go through 2-1 on aggregate and now face America in the semifinals. The first game is likely to be on Thursday in Monterrey, and the second leg will be at the Azteca on Sunday.