Nico Sanchez netted the only goal as Monterrey defeated Club Tijuana 1-0 in the first leg of the 2019-20 Copa MX final on Wednesday in Estadio Caliente, with both teams finishing the game with 10 players.
Monterrey held onto its first-half lead after its player Daniel Parra was sent off in the 74th minute. Xolos sub Marcel Ruiz was also shown a red card in the 82nd after a bad foul.
Xolos dominated possession over the 90 minutes and almost equalized five minutes from the final whistle, when an unmarked Miguel Barbieri headed over the bar from close range.
Sanchez scored from the penalty spot in the 18th after Aldo Cruz had tripped Maxi Meza inside the area to win the penalty.
Tijuana midfielder Christian Rivera shot over from the edge of the box in the 50th and Monterrey keeper Luis Cardenas was forced into a double save three minutes later, but Rogelio Funes Mori also came close to extending Rayados' lead in the 68th.
The Copa MX final second leg will take place in Monterrey's Estadio BBVA on Nov. 4.
The final of Mexico's cup competition was originally set for last April, but was moved to September and eventually the current dates due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020-21 edition of the tournament was canceled because of scheduling issues.