Monterrey vs Tigres UANL – Sunday, December 10, 4:00 PM PT/7:00 PM ET – Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Monterrey, Mexico.
Tigres vs Monterrey is a fitting conclusion to the Liga MX Apertura playoffs. The two clubs represent one of the biggest rivalries in Mexican football. Known as the Clasico Regiomontano, the rivalry is the most traditional in Mexican football, and by far overshadows the derbies in Mexico City.
Tigres UANL, whose fans will argue that they are from San Nicolas de La Garza, and not Monterrey, represent the working class of the Monterrey area, whereas Monterrey, better known as Los Rayados, represent the upper classes of the city.
There is also a university aspect to the rivalry between the two clubs. Monterrey plays in the colours of the privately owned Tecnologico de Monterrey university. Tigres, meanwhile, were founded as the club of the public Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.
Unlike Pumas UNAM, who are still associated with the university that founded the club, both clubs are no longer owned by their respective universities. UANL leased out the administration of the team to a subsidiary of CEMEX in 1996 and, since then, the club has become one of the richest in the league.
Monterrey, on the other hand, are owned by FEMSA, which is Latin America’s biggest bottling company. With the help of FEMSA, Monterrey was able to build one of the most modern facilities in Latin America. Opened in 2015, Estadio BBVA Bancomer holds 53,500 people and, with the new arena, Monterrey CF have become one of the biggest clubs in Mexican football.
In fact, these days, the class differences in the Clasico Regiomontano have been watered down. With the help of their respective owners, both clubs are now considered the richest in the league, and the derby, therefore, will pit the two best squads in Mexican football—and perhaps in Latin American football in general—against each other.
Given the strength of the two sides in recent years, it is somewhat surprising that they have never before met in a final before. The final on Thursday and Sunday will, therefore, add another chapter to the already rich history of the rivalry between the two sides. But the game represents so much more than just a derby.
It was no surprise that the first leg on Thursday would add another significant story to the chapter of the Clasico Regio. Nicolas Sanchez opened the scoring for Monterrey in the ninth minute, and Monterrey seemed set to take control off the Apertura final. But Enner Valencia equalised in the 26th minute, and Tigres controlled much of the match with 63% ball possession.
In general, Monterrey seldom have the majority of possession, and the stat on its own should not worry Mohamed. What will be concerning for the Monterrey bench boss will be concerned that Tigres bossed shots on goal ((13 to 8) and even more importantly shots inside the box (10 to 7). Tigres head coach Ricardo Ferretti, in fact, will be somewhat unhappy that his side was unable to take a better result to Monterrey’s home stadium on Sunday. The 1-1 draw means the game is still wide open, which will give viewers a fantastic conclusion to the Apertura.
Monterrey vs Tigres UANL – Player to look out for:
Rogelio Funes Mori #7 – Monterrey
Going into the second leg against Monarcas Monterrey fans were worried about the absence of star striker Aviles Hurtado. But thankfully for Los Rayados, there is real depth up front, and Argentine striker Rogelio Funes Mori stepped up to fill the void. The 26-year-old has worked on his frame in recent months to comply with Mohamed’s power-football and against Monarcas in the second leg was unstoppable scoring three goals to get his side through to the final.
André-Pierre Gignac #10 – Tigres UANL
The French national team striker is the biggest name in Mexican football. At the same time, Gignac has been almost goal shy during the Apertura. But those who have followed Gignac’s career in Mexico know that the 32-year-old is a big game player, who usually runs hot during the big games in the CONCACAF Champions League and the Liguilla. But the striker is more than just goals these days. Gignac has somewhat re-invented his game in recent months dropping deeper and acting almost like a playmaker at times, not unlike German striker Miroslav Klose towards the end of his career.
Monterrey vs Tigres UANL – Match Stats
- This is the first ever Clasico Regio Liguilla final.
- The two sides faced each other on matchday 17 of the Apertura and Monterrey clinched first place in the standings with a 2-0 home victory.
- Head coaches Ricardo Ferretti and Antonio Mohamed have faced each other on 19 occasions, and Ferretti just holds the edge with a record of W8 D4 L7.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Monterrey vs Tigres 3-1
Monterrey vs Tigres UANL – Possible Lineups
Gonzalez – Fuentes, Basanta, Montes, Medina – Ortiz, Gonzalez, Carlos Sanchez – Hurtado, Funes Mori, Pabon
Coach: Antonio Mohamed
Guzman – Luis Rodriguez, Meza, Juninho, Torres – Duenas, Carioca – Valencia, Vargas, Aquino – Gignac
Coach: Ricardo Ferretti
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.