Futbol

Alonso to return as manager, Liga MX's Monterrey says

Monterrey, Mexico, Dec 10 (EFE).- Monterrey, which was eliminated from the Apertura tournament semifinals by Cruz Azul over the weekend, said Uruguayan Diego Alonso would return as the Liga MX club's manager.

"Diego's mission continues. It hurts us that we did not reach the final and accomplish our goal," Monterrey sporting director Duilio Davino said in a press conference on Sunday.

Cruz Azul, playing at home at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium, edged Monterrey 1-0 on Saturday, advancing to the 2018 Apertura tournament final.

Cruz Azul, which has not won a Liga MX title since 1997, had to win after falling to Monterrey 1-0 in the first leg of the series.

Even though the clubs were tied 1-1 on aggregate and 0-0 in away goals, Cruz Azul advanced to the final with the victory because of its seeding.

Under Liga MX rules for the semifinals, Cruz Azul, the No. 1 seed, advanced because it was seeded higher than Monterrey, the No. 5 seed.

"It's not enough for us to reach the final and the semifinals of the league. It's only part of the organization's growth. We will get stronger and aim to be better," Davino said.

After losing the 2017 Apertura final against bitter rival Tigres UANL, Monterrey fans turned their backs on the team. In this tournament, fans stopped going to the stadium, but they regained interest when the club won the first leg of the semifinal series against Cruz Azul 1-0.

"We are doing something wrong. The fans are upset and distancing themselves. We have to work on our flaws to bring them back home," Davino said.

Alonso's squad lost some players to injuries in the Apertura tournament, forcing the coach to use young Mexican players who performed well.

Davino said some of the new players are at a competitive level and could earn a roster spot.

Monterrey will start practicing again on Dec. 17. For three weeks, the club will prepare for the start of the Clausura tournament, in which they will make their debut on Jan. 5 against Pachuca, coached by Spaniard Pako Ayestaran.

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