SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA | Saturday, January 21, 2017.- As though playing to the strains of a beautiful Argentine tango, Tigres achieved their first victory of the season, enjoying a 4-2 win over América, with Ismael Sosa and a vibrant Lucas Zelarayán, playing the role of strikers.
Tigres could have made the goal difference even wider, if it hadn’t been for diverse mistakes and issues, though they got back on track to reach four points and bring the Universitario Stadium to its feet with yet another win over Águilas, just 27 days after defeating them in the 2016 Summer Tournament (Apertura) Final.
Ricardo Ferretti made two adjustments to the starting lineup. Since Nahuel Guzmán was injured on Friday, Enrique Palos took over as goalkeeper, and Jesús Dueñas oversaw the right flank leaving Lucas Zelarayán to defend, together with Guido Pizarro.
In this way, Tuca’s team offered a slightly more aggressive formation, determined not to give anything away and seeking the leading role against América, which, as usual, played with a line of five in the defensive zone, clearing along the flanks.
The match got off to a heady start, with Tigres moving up front, so much so that, with just one minute on the clock, the first goal was scored by Ismael Sosa, who defeated the goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín, after a wall pass from André-Pierre Gignac that left him in a fine solo position.
The felines played with an undiminishing intensity, which rewarded them with three more opportunities – at 4’ for Sosa, 6’ for Javier Aquino and 14’ ‘Chuco’ once more. In fact, América even attempted to break away, but Darwin Quintero was caught offside.
Just when the first half of the match seemed to belong exclusively to the felines, Oribe Peralta appeared at 20’ to give his team the 1-1 equalizer in an individual play.
Two minutes later, ‘Chino’ Zelarayán emerged from the left, shaking off three players to send a cross to Gignac who headed the ball down, leaving Sosa alone to make a full turn and smash the ball into the post, bringing the entire crowd to their feet.
Tigres’ pace did not slacken one bit. On the contrary, they continued to insist and found a space on the right flank with Jürgen Damm who made his way into the zone, but the goalie saved his attempt, although the referee could have awarded a penalty.
Gignac’s possibility of converting another goal was also thwarted, when América’s defense froze to let him into the zone alone, but his attempt to lob Marchesín missed to the right.
With the universitarios determined up front, Zelarayán, at 35’, scored off a free kick, driving the fans to chant his nickname in unison. The match continued along the same lines until the end of the first half.
América equalized very early on in the second half when, with just three minutes on the clock, Bruno Valdez brought the score to 2-2 with a header, although they hadn’t created any danger in Tigres’ goal area. And, at 50’, Palos came into action once more to save Quintero’s attempt.
Tigres regrouped on the pitch, and gradually began to generate opportunities, to the extent that, at 54’, Zelarayán put his side in the lead 3-2 with a fine goal to the back of the net, off a scissor kick by André-Pierre, giving the felines control of the match.
Tigres’ insistence increased, although América also sought opportunities sending more men up front, but André-Pierre had another chance at 67’ in a mid-range shot that barely skimmed over Marchesín’s goal.
With the universitarios as the protagonists of the match, Sosa scored the fourth goal in a magnificent play, cutting back in the zone to send the ball straight over the goalie to give his side a 4-2 lead. It was time to make some adjustments on the field and ‘Tuca’ sent on Andy Delort, Jorge Estrada and Damián Álvarez to replace Sosa, Guido Pizarro and Aquino.
The time was up and the Universitario witnessed Tigres’ first triumph in the 2017 Winter Tournament (Clausura).
Tigres achieved their 31st victory against América in their head-to-head record, and, at the same time, their fourth consecutive League and Playoff match without losing to the Águilas.
1-0 (1’) Ismael Sosa’s low shot goes underneath América’s goalie, after a fantastic play by Gignac, who left Sosa to finish alone.
2-1 (35’) Free kick by Lucas Zelarayán from the left, sending the shot into the corner by Marchesín’s right post, producing a fantastic goal.
3-2 (54’) Zelarayán finds a loose ball in the zone and sends it home to the back of the net after an unsuccessful scissor kick by Gignac.
4-2 (82’) Sosa takes advantage of a long pass to send it into the back of net, straight over the goalie.
1-1 (20’) Oribe Peralta enters the box and his chip shot over Enrique Palos finds the draw.
2-2 (48’) Bruno Valdez’s header from a corner beats Tigres’ goalkeeper.
Tigres: Enrique Palos; Jesús Dueñas, Hugo Ayala, Juninho and Jorge Torres Nilo; Guido Pizarro (Jorge Estrada 86’), Lucas Zelarayán, Jürgen Damm and Javier Aquino (Damián Álvarez 88’); Ismael Sosa (Andy Delort 83’) and André-Pierre Gignac
América: Agustín Marchesín; Edson Álvarez, Paolo Goltz, Pablo Aguilar, Osmar Mares (José Guerrero 46’) and Bruno Valdez; William Da Silva, Renato Ibarra (Michael Arroyo 72’) and Miguel Samudio; Carlos Quintero and Oribe Peralta (Silvio Romero 64’)
Referee: Luis Enrique Santander
Tigres: Guido Pizarro (6’)
América: Edson Álvarez (2’), Osmar Mares (33’), Renato Ibarra (34’)