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America vs. Monterrey: 2019 Apertura Championship Leg 2 Preview, Live Stream

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 29, 2019

Monterrey's Rogelio Funes Mori (C) celebrates withe teammates after scoring against America during the Mexican Apertura 2019 tournament first leg final football, match at the BBVA Bancomer stadium in Monterrey, Mexico, on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Julio Cesar AGUILAR / AFP) (Photo by JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images)
JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/Getty Images

Monterrey only have to avoid defeat when they travel to face Club America in the second leg of the 2019 Liga MX Apertura final on Sunday in order to win their first such title since 2010.

Los Rayados lead 2-1 on aggregate after Rogelio Funes Mori won Thursday's home leg with a spectacular bicycle kick in injury time.

Defending Apertura champions America are targeting their second title in as many tournaments under Miguel Herrera, who is the only Mexican manager to win a Liga MX title since 2013. Monterrey counterpart Antonio Mohamed has had a rejuvenating effect since returning to the club for his second stint in October and has yet to be beaten in 13 domestic matches.

                 

Date: Sunday, December 29

Time: 9:15 p.m. ET/2:15 a.m. GMT (Monday, Dec. 30)

Venue: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go (U.S.)

TV Info: Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes (U.S.)

          

Preview

America came close to becoming the first Mexican team to beat Monterrey since Mohamed took back control of the club, with the Argentinian reviving their campaign and then some.

Their journey to the final has been remarkable considering Monterrey were 14th in the regular-season standings when he was reappointed, recovering to finish eighth and take the last play-off spot.

Sunday's guests find themselves in a much more confident position as they prepare to visit Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the same site where America beat bitter rivals Cruz Azul to lift last year's title.

Carlos Rodriguez's own goal in the first leg briefly set Monterrey on course for a shock home defeat, but Stefan Medina and Funes Mori got on the scoresheet to complete their narrow comeback:

Funes Mori converted his 11th Liga MX goal of the season to move to within one of the competition's joint-top scorers, Alan Pulido of Guadalajara and Mauro Quiroga of Necaxa. A brace on Sunday would see the 28-year-old finish the campaign with the Golden Boot:

B/R Football @brfootball

🔘 93rd minute 🔘 Bicycle kick @rogelio7funes' unreal winner won the first-leg for Monterrey vs. Club America in the Liga MX final 🔥 https://t.co/yhOxy2DbTe

Netherlands striker Vincent Janssen missed the club's recent run to third place at the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup through injury but came on as a second-half substitute in the first-leg win over America.

He could be in the running to start when Mohamed's men travel to Mexico's capital, though ESPN Stats & Info provided evidence as to why Funes Mori has the ability to lead the line alone once again:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Rogelio Funes Mori scored an over-the-head bicycle kick goal for Monterrey to win the first leg of the Liga MX final (his 101st goal with Monterrey). It was his 9th goal in his last 8 games in all competitions. https://t.co/HWYD6jClfJ

America midfielder Sebastian Cordova will play no part in the final second leg after he was sent off following a review by the video assistant referee in the opener. Despite his red card, Thursday's visiting team almost saw out a draw.

ESPN FC's Cesar Hernandez teased it would be an open affair between on Sunday:

Cesar Hernandez @cesarhfutbol

World-class goal from Funes Mori and a deserved 2-1 for Monterrey, but I was still impressed by how 10-man Club America was holding them back. Series is still completely up in the air. #LigaMXeng #Rayados #ClubAmerica

America have won 13 top-tier titles in Mexican league football—more than any other team—but Herrera's men will be hard-pressed to stop Monterrey earning their fifth.