SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA | Tuesday, October 18, 2016.- Tigres has earned a spot in the Champions League Quarter Finals by defeating the Costa Rican side, Herediano, with a categorical 3-0 score, on a night that saw the return of goals and the debut of both Andy Delort and Luis Quiñones sporting the feline jersey in official matches.
On the pitch, there was just one team eager to triumph across the 90 minutes, and that was Tigres. They proved they were back for the rest of the League and to fight once more for the Concacaf title.
Now they will have to wait to find out who their opponent will be in the Quarter Finals. The eight qualifying teams are seeded from the highest to the lowest number of points achieved in the group stage, thus making it possible for two Mexican teams to play against each other.
Ricardo Ferretti announced at the end of the last match that a pleasant surprise would be in store for the fans and he fulfilled his promise. The starting lineup included Andy Delort at the core of the attackers together with Ismael Sosa, and Luis Quiñones and Javier Aquino playing on the flanks, leaving Lucas Zelarayán as the playmaker and Guido Pizarro to defend and act as captain.
The French player, André-Pierre Gignac, was unable to participate owing to a muscle spasm sustained in the Day 13 match, while a sports hernia also forced Juninho to rest, with José Rivas taking his place.
Herediano put out a formation of five defenders, four midfielders and a lone striker, who appeared at times to be much further back.
Tigres went all out to win, forming a line of four strikers, with two center forwards and two wingers, putting the pressure on across the pitch and driving the opponent into their area, though during the first 15 minutes there were no clear goal opportunities.
The felines’ pressure intensified at 21’, first with a shot by Rivas to the bottom of the post, with the ball cleared for a corner, then, two minutes later, after a fast counterattack, Luis Quiñones sent a shot into the goalkeeper’s hands, bringing the felines closer to the first goal of the match.
Their reward came at minute 26, through Hugo Ayala caught the ball on the rebound, sending it into the back of Herediano’s net. Then, just nine minutes later, Luis Quiñones scored the second goals, putting the local team well in the lead.
Just a few minutes before the end of the first half, there were two clear opportunities, but they didn’t end as goals. The first was the result of a great save by the Herediano goalie of an amazing shot by Zelarayán, and another from a ground-level cross, again by ‘Chino’, that neither Quiñones nor Sosa could reach.
The second half started without any substitutions for the felines, while Herediano decided to change their formation from a 5-4-1 to a 4-4-2 in the hopes of recovering more balls and creating opportunities up front. However, the home side maintained the same style as in the first half.
Despite the visitors’ adjustments, the universitarios continued to control the match, generating opportunities through Quiñones, Sosa and Delort in different ways, particularly when Damián Álvarez replaced Aquino. But at 65’, the French player scored his first goal in a cross from Sosa that Delort was easily able to finish.
‘Tuca’ Ferretti made another substitution, sending Alberto Acosta on to substitute Sosa, positioning him as a wide midfielder on the right, and at 71’ he was about to add his name to the list of goal scorers, but the goalkeeper got in the way. The last substitution was made at 75’ with ‘Gringo’ Torres replacing Zelarayán.
Tigres fought until the final whistle to score another goal, but the Costa Rican netminder did an amazing job to avoid a landslide.
This is the fourth Champions League match between Herediano and Tigres and the felines have never lost to them, having achieved so far two victories and two ties. Both victories were accomplished in this year’s tournament.
1-0 (26’) Hugo Ayala sends the ball into the back of the net from a header by Andy Delort, who took advantage of a rebound off the center forward’s back, to just tap the ball in to score the first goal of the match.
2-0 (35’) Luis Quiñones scores with a first-class shot from outside the box, from a cross by Torres Nilo, skimming the ball past the bottom of De Lemos’ right-hand goalpost.
3-0 (65’) Andy Delort toe poked the ball in the center of the zone from a pass by Ismael Sosa between the Herediano defenders.
Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán; Jesús Dueñas, Hugo Ayala, José Rivas and Jorge Torres Nilo; Guido Pizarro, Javier Aquino (Damián Álvarez 55’) and Lucas Zelarayán (José Torres 75’); Ismael Sosa (Alberto Acosta 68’), Luis Quiñones and Andy Delort
Herediano: Adrián de Lemos; William Quirós (Víctor Núñez 46’), Allan Miranda, Leonardo González, Johnny Acosta, and Pablo Salazar; Randall Azofeifa, Johan Condega (Yosimar Arias 62’), José Cubero and Gerson Torres (José Sánchez 30’); Jonathan Hansen
Referee: Armando Villarreal (EU)
Tigres: Ismael Sosa (46’), José Rivas (70’)
Herediano: William Quirós (10’), José Cubero (43’), Randall Azofeifa (60’)