It was a goal we will remember for years to come.
Re-do your “best of the decade” list because this one has to be on there. Put it with the Moises Munoz diving header as one of the best ever in a Liga MX final.
Rogelio Funes Mori scored an incredible goal in the 93rd minute of Thursday’s Liga MX final first leg, giving Monterrey a 2-1 victory and the advantage over Club America ahead of Sunday’s second leg in the Estadio Azteca.
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It was a fantastic overhead kick, one that was more than worth of the stage set for the grand final.
It was a goal fans will talk about by name – ‘the Funes Mori goal’. It was a goal few players would’ve tried to pull off. It was a goal audacious in both intent and execution.
“It was a goal I imagined,” said Funes Mori, shrugging, after the game.
Nobody else could have.
It looked like Monterrey was going to waste all its advantages. Sure, Rayados had just gotten off the plane from Qatar less than a week ago after taking part in the Club World Cup. But even so, this was their game at home. Thing were not going well for America, with a goal set up by Henry Martin and Federico Vinas flattering to deceive.
Las Aguilas already were down one of their best attackers, with Renato Ibarra not fit after suffering an injury in the second leg of the semi-final. The wide attacker on the opposite side, Andres Ibarguen, left in the first half with an injury as well.
Rayados hit back quickly and went into the half-time break level after Stefan Medina finished off a set piece. VAR showed him to narrowly be onside, and it was 1-1. A draw would’ve been a good result for the visitors, who have shown in past playoff series they can get impressive results at home almost at will.
For Rayados, it would’ve been a failure, especially once Sebastian Cordova got his marching orders for leaving his boot in on a tackle and America went down to 10 men.
That’s what it looked like was going to happen. Moments before the stoppage-time winner, Guillermo Ochoa made a one-handed save on a header from Vincent Janssen that looked like it would be the lasting memory from the game – a symbol of America sending the tie back home level despite being down a man for more than a half-hour.
So Funes Mori chesting the ball to himself and rotating to put his right foot on the ball and fire it over his head as it fell was the goal they needed at just the right time.
Had it not been for Funes Mori’s goal, America would head into the second leg with all the momentum and confidence.
It still will be a tight second leg, and Funes Mori’s goal by no means feels like it will stand as the winner. The forward himself was quick to point out that fact after the game.
“Yes, we won the first game, but it’s going to be very difficult there. We have to take another step. There are still 90 minutes,” Funes Mori said.
There are indeed. Fans can only hope we’re left with more moments we’ll remember as long as we’ll remember the gem of a goal from Funes Mori.