“Must-win” Monterrey ready for Arabe Unido test

Walter Ayovi (pictured) is confident that Monterrey can defeat host Arabe Unido in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League game on September 14, 2016, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Mexsport)


MONTERREY, Mexico – Simply put, if Monterrey (1W-0D-1L, 3 points) wants to continue its pursuit of a fourth Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League title, it has to beat host and first-place Arabe Unido (2-0-0, 6) on Wednesday at the Estadio Maracana.

Any other result will eliminate the Rayados from contention since Arabe will own an unassailable advantage in the first tiebreaker: Greater number of points earned in matches between the teams concerned. 

Even with a draw, the Panamanian power -- thanks to a stunning 3-2 win in Mexico on August 17 – will have four points to Monterrey’s one.

Both sides still need to face Haiti’s Don Bosco once again, but the most points with which Monterrey can finish in Group D is same the number as the least for Arabe: seven.

Oh yes, it’s a “must-win” game for Monterrey…the sort of encounter that can make for a memorable CONCACAF night.

“Today, our work is going to be done thinking about getting the three points,” Monterrey’s Walter Ayovi said at a press conference on Monday. “The Panamanian team came here and took away the three points, which is obviously not what we wanted…but football is like that. It gives rematches and now it’s time for us to look to win the match.”

Monterrey is unbeaten in its last six SCCL away matches (W-5; D-1; L-0; GF-15; GA-2). The last road loss against non-Mexican opposition, though, came exactly five years to the date of Wednesday’s game, a 0-1 setback to Guatemala’s Comunicaciones. The 2016 Liga MX Clausura runner-up did fall 1-2 at fellow Mexican side Santos in the second leg of the 2011/12 final.

Ayovi is convinced that Monterrey can get the needed result in Panama City.

“This team shows that it has class and that it can win on any field,” stressed the 37-year-old Ecuador international. “We hope that Wednesday is successful for us and that the team’s confidence will rise. It is the most important.”

Whether it is SCCL or Liga MX play, Ayoví asserted that Monterrey will always give 100 percent and that the Arabe Unido contest is no different. 

“The coach, like us players, never minimalize opponents,” he finished. “We always want to give the maximum in each commitment.”