QUERÉTARO, May 6, 2017.- André-Pierre Gignac appeared at the right moment to guide the UANL Tigres into the Playoffs, scoring three goals in a 5-1 victory over the Gallos Blancos from Querétaro.
This victory, completed by Luis Rodríguez and Ismael Sosa, both with superb goals, gives our team a spot in the Fiesta Grande (Playoffs), though their Quarter Final opponent is yet to be defined.
Tigres attacked from very early on, fully aware of what was at stake, and, just one minute into the match, the defense cleared a cross by Lucas Zelarayán from the box, where Ismael Sosa and André-Pierre Gignac were getting ready to give their all.
Soon after, at minute seven, Gignac managed to recover a ball that had gone adrift, but his light shot went just centimeters wide of the Gallos’ left post.
But the best was yet to come for our team, when, at 9’, Javier Aquino, who was beginning to pose a threat on the left flank, made his way into the box, sent a cross that was deflected by the defense, but landed at Gignac’s feet and he tapped the ball in to bring the score to 1-0.
Querétaro was trying to react, moving out of their own zone, but Tigres was well positioned and had the edge over them in recovery.
At that moment, Hugo Ayala, coming up on his own from the back, opened to Luis Rodríguez on the right, and the native of Monterrey checked out the panorama, advanced a few meters, and sent a mid-range shot into the upper-left-hand corner of the net, bringing the score to 2-0 with an outstanding goal.
With this advantage, our side devoted themselves to generating plays from the back, prioritizing possession and then overlapping, seeking long-range balls to Aquino on the left and Sosa on the right.
However, it was Zelarayán who perturbed the opponent’s goal once more, when he broke away from two defenders to send a shot that went over the crossbar at minute 28.
Querétaro’s attempt from a set-piece situation unsettled the Tigres nation, when Camilo Sanvezzo’s header, following a corner, went wide of the left post at minute 38.
In the second half, Tigres came out with the idea of maintaining the same pace and style, that is to say ball possession and not being in a hurry to move up front, playing like clockwork.
But the hosts had another idea, since, at 47’, Sanvezzo took advantage of a cross the defense neglected and scored the Gallos’ goal. It was 2-1, encouraging Querétaro to equalize in the La Corregidora Stadium.
Aquino soon cleared a dangerous looking ball from the zone, and in the counterattack Gignac came in from the left and sent a cross that the defense sent over the line to avoid the third goal.
Our team pressed forward and, at 55’, Gignac’s shot to the corner of the net was saved by the goalkeeper, then found Sosa, who broke away from an opponent and crossed for the 3-1, bringing calm once more to Tigres’ players and supporters alike.
Just three minutes afterwards, Juninho recovered a ball played out from defense by the Gallos, passed to Gignac, who came into the box and crossed for the fourth. The road to the Playoffs was looking clearer and clearer.
At minute 64, Neri Cardozo was sent off after being shown his second yellow card, making the horizon even brighter for Tigres to stay on the path to victory.
Tuca then decided to make the first substitution, taking Aquino off, so he would be rested for the Playoffs, and sending Damián Álvarez on. He soon did the same with Sosa, replacing him with Jürgen Damm.
Dueñas soon came off, at minute 76, to be substituted by Luis Quiñones, who had just recovered from a long injury.
A minute later, Damm appeared on the left, stole the ball and broke into the zone to cross to Gignac, who, not being one to waste an opportunity, finished to bring the afternoon’s score to 5-1.
The last few minutes allowed Tigres to slow down the pace, thinking of next week’s Playoff match.
QUERÉTARO: Tiago Volpi; Luis Esqueda, Hiram Mier, Miguel Martínez, Neri Cardozo, Aldo Arellano, Luis M. Noriega (Marco Jiménez 46’), Jaime Gómez, Ángel Sepúlveda (Emanuel Villa 57’), Edgar Benitez (Gerardo Lugo 70’) and Camilo Sanvezzo.
TIGRES: Nahuel Guzmán; Alberto Acosta, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Luis Rodríguez, Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas (Luis Quiñones 76’), Javier Aquino (Damián Álvarez 67’), Ismael Sosa (Jürgen Damm 73’), Lucas Zelarayan and André-Pierre Gignac.
0-1 (9’) Javier Aquino crosses from the left, the defense deflects, but the ball lands at André-Pierre Gignac’s feet and he taps the ball in.
0-2 (13’) Luis Rodríguez makes his way through and shoots into the upper left-hand corner.
1-2 (47’) Camilo Sanvezzo scores off a cross from inside the box.
1-3 (55’) André-Pierre Gignac’s shot is saved by the goalkeeper, finds Ismael Sosa, who overcomes a defender and crosses to score.
1-4 (58’) Juninho recovers a ball, send a long pass to André-Pierre Gignac, who enters the area and crosses to score the fourth.
1-5 (77’) Jürgen Damm steals from the left, crosses and André-Pierre Gignac finishes to score.
QUERÉTARO: Camilo Sanvezzo (43’), Neri Cardozo (53’)
QUERÉTARO: Neri Cardozo (64’)
REFEREE: Erick Yair Miranda
Assistant referee No. 1: Salvador Rodríguez
Assistant referee No. 2: Jimmy Acosta
Fourth official: Diego Montaño