Pachuca triumphed 5-2 over Monterrey in the chaotic first-leg match of the 2022 Liga MX Apertura semi-final series on Thursday.
Pachuca earned the initial lead with a goal from Nicolas Ibanez, before Rayados equalized the score only seven minutes later. It became a game of catch up for the visitors, with Luis Romo canceling out Romario Ibarra’s strike to secure the 2-2 draw heading into halftime.
The second 45 saw Pachuca find the back of the net seconds after the whistle, exerting their dominance. But as frustrations grew high on the pitch for Rayados, right-back Erick Aguirre committed a foul that left the team down to 10 men.
Despite the disadvantage, Monterrey continued to push forward, until a foul by goalkeeper Oscar Ustari on Jesus Gallardo handed Rayados the opportunity to equalize the game with a penalty. Rogelio Funes Mori stepped up, sending the ball into the arms of Ustari on the right. Two minutes later, a foul inside the box on the other end of the pitch saw Pachuca earn a penalty and Ibanez sealed the 4-2 lead.
Ibanez topped it off with an extra time goal to secure his hat-trick and the 5-2 triumph.
Though Pachuca heads into the second leg with the advantage, goalkeeper Oscar Ustari lamented the match.
“I’m fine, beyond the victory I’m a little upset because I made a mistake that thank God I was able to correct, but there are mistakes that you can’t make in these instances against these great rivals because it costs you the series,” he said post match.
“Sometimes it’s our turn, it was a very rude mistake on my part that, if it had been a goal, the game would have changed completely. Luckily we have a great squad, when it comes to us luckily we show up and we’re happy. We are going to try to close the lap in a good way, we will go thinking that we are going 0-0 because we have a great finish in front of us.”
Pachuca’s attention now turns to Sunday as Monterrey hosts the decisive match, where they need just three goals to manage the draw and advance. In case of an overall draw, the team with a better regular-season record advances to the final.