Liga MX Femenil: Las Rayadas de Monterrey dethrone Tigres to conquer Mexican soccer

The Rayadas players celebrate after beating Tigres on penalties.
The Rayadas players celebrate after beating Tigres on penalties.Miguel Sierra (EFE)

The Rayadas have hit the table with a sledgehammer. They have beaten their biggest opponents, the Tigres players, in the Liga MX final. There was no one to stop the Amazons, until they met the mystique of Eva Espejo, the first woman to win the Mexican tournament. The resolution of the final had to wait until penalties. The heroine of the night was Alejandría Godínez who saved twice.

The final of the royal clubs, the two best in the regular championship, pushed the players to the limit. In the first leg, the match ended 2-2 despite the Rayadas leading 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining until Stephany Mayor leveled with a smash goal over goalkeeper Alejandría Godínez. The scorer, however, was suspended for the second leg final after hitting her rival, Diana Garcia.

On the return, both teams had to climb too much to reach the area. Desirée Monsiváis, from Rayadas, had one of the clearest shots in front of the goal and everything was clouded for her when she crashed her shot into goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago before the end of the first half. Those of Tigres, sheltered at home, were launched in the second half to try to close the game. María Sánchez was persistent and without aim. On the way, they lost Katty Martínez, the driving force behind the attack, through injury. María Elizondo let go of the winning goal or rather, the striped goalkeeper Godínez knew how to deny her the shot.

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On penalties, the tension was shared. The first shots of both squads were successful. Liliana Mercado and Monsiváis made it 1-1. Afterward, the Rayadas goalkeeper saved to frustrate Nancy Antonio and then Lizbeth Ovalle. The striped captain, Rebeca Bernal, scored the decisive shot. With the pressure on, the experienced Nayeli Rangel missed her shot (1-3). Enjoyed for the Rayadas in the University stadium, feline territory. The two league titles won by Rayadas have been thanks to a victory against their neighbors, the Tigres.

Alejandría Godínez, Rayadas goalkeeper, after saving a penalty.
Alejandría Godínez, Rayadas goalkeeper, after saving a penalty.Miguel Sierra (EFE)

The city of Monterrey has become the capital of women’s soccer in Mexico. Of the eight finals of the championship, six have been won by the Tigres or Rayadas footballers. Both clubs have bet hard to be leaders in the category in a metropolis and, in general, in all of Mexico, where the shadow of machismo looms. In the first leg final, more than 34,000 fans came to the stadium.

Mexican soccer is an arrow that has not stopped even in the face of the pandemic. Female footballers have earned their place on the pitch and although the pay gap remains wide, female footballers have shown that it is not a fleeting division. It is an ambitious and long-term project that started in 2017. There have been seven short tournaments in which salaries have gone from less than 50 dollars a month to more than 1,000 and now without a salary cap. Other inequalities, such as treatment, are still pending. Also the use of the stadiums where the men’s division plays and the training fields or the great finals are broadcast on open television.

“A lot of people tell you, ‘Wow, no! You’re not going to make it. ‘ ‘Bah, that’s impossible!’ There are many pessimistic voices around. They try to convince us that our method is not the correct one, “said Eva Espejo, a historian in Mexico, in an interview with this newspaper in 2017. Today, she and her entire squad have triumphed.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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