Liga MX is the most entertaining league in the world.
The second leg final between América and Monterrey was undoubted proof.
There isn’t another league with this strange combination of technical brilliance, technical mistakes, and an endless supply of slide tackles.
The two coaches – Miguel Herrera and Antonio Mohamed (formerly of América) oozed machismo, prayer beads, decadent cologne and tactical nous.
The match was played with wild rhythm. América and Monterrey both having a share of miss placed and over hit passes. Individual defensive errors were in abundance – see Jorge Sanchez’s swing and-a-miss clearance in minute 74…
But there was also bits of neat build up play and classy finishing. Federico Viñas left footed thunderbolt off the inside of the right post earned Miguel Herrera a sideline bear hug. And the Jannsen layoff to Carlos Rodríguez who played in Funes Mori, left América’s back four wilting.
It wouldn’t be the gunslingers who would decide this match though. Long before the penalty shootout both goalkeepers were proving to be the match winners. Barovero (the accountant) tipped over a Guido Rodriguez rasper from the top of the 18, and Ochoa saved one from point blank on Carlos Rodríguez.
Gio Dos Santos preps his corner. The TV cameras are shaking. It’s cleared away.
The mind games begin.
Ochoa and Marcelo Barovero share a moment while walking to the goal. Both keepers morph into penalty panthers, flash diving to their left to make vital saves.
Guido Rodriguez, having issues with the penalty spot turf…launches his penalty into the Mexico City sky line.
Antonio Mohamed grips his prayer beads, the shadow from the dugout ceiling covering his face. Leonel Vangioni slide rule passes it to the bottom left corner. The tears are flowing. Monterrey are Liga MX champions.