AGUASCALIENTES, April 8.- The UANL Tigres were unable to maintain their one-goal advantage and ended up drawing 1-1 with the Necaxa Rayos, leaving them far away from the 2017 Apertura Playoffs.
Francisco Meza, who was replacing an injured Juninho, put Ricardo Ferretti’s side ahead with a header following a corner; however, the match was almost over when the Rayos took advantage of a defensive error to equalize.
The match started with our team showing their determination to look for and retain the ball, which has been their strategy for the past seven years. However, they needed to break into the opponent’s zone more to upset the goalkeeper, Barovero.
Three minutes in, Claudio Riaño put Nahuel Guzmán to the test, but his shot went wide. Tigres responded at minute 9, with an attempt by Eduardo Vargas that was too high.
An opportunity for André-Pierre Gignac, who scored a goal in Canada, from outside the area ended up smashing into the netkeeper.
Later on, at minute 16, Tigre were awarded a corner, taken this time by Ismael Sosa from the left, to find Francisco Meza who scored with a header.
Tigres had managed to score in a set-piece off a corner for the first time since day 15 in the 2016 Clausura tournament, when Juninho, assisted by Rafael Sobis, got a goal against Santos on April 23.
At minute 23, Javier Aquino made his way through to send a powerful shot that Barovero deflected with his hands. Tigres was beginning to insist with shots from different areas of the field of play.
Gignac came into the box from the left sending a cross to Dueñas who tried to finish, but without success.
Tigres had many opportunities, but their opponent wasn’t ready to give up, and at minute 42, off a foul by Torres Nilo on the outskirts of the zone, Jairo González equalized 1-1 with a free kick.
In the second half, the Rayos clearly had the idea of attacking, but our team continued put the pressure on Barovero.
At minute 48, Gignac’s attempt went high, then, at 51’, Nahuel managed to block on the line a header by Michel García, who had come on as a substitute, saving Tigres from conceding their second goal.
Tigres’ reaction couldn’t have been better, since at 57’, in a one-two play, Sosa came face-to-face with Barovero, but lost in the one-on-one, just achieving a corner.
The next play was Gignac’s with a header that looked certain to be a goal, but Barovero deflected what would have been our side’s second goal.
Tuca then began to make some changes, taking Vargas off to give an opportunity to Lucas Zelarayán.
At minute 75, Luis Rodríguez, who has been replacing an injured Advincula, sent a cross that went just wide of the left-hand post.
The night became even more complicated for our team when Jesús Dueñas was injured and Francisco “Gringo” Torres took his place, clearly with the idea of maintaining a double shield together with Guido Pizarro.
Gignac had another opportunity at the 85-minute mark, with a shot on the edge of the box that ended in a corner conceded by Barovero. Two minutes later, the French player’s next attempt with a header went wide of the left post.
Ultimately, a draw doesn’t offer much of an advantage, since it leaves Tigres in the lower part of the rankings, though still with the hope of improving to qualify to the Playoffs.
NECAXA: Marcelo Barovero; B. Beckeles, M. González, Mario de Luna, Jairo González, Jesús Isijara (Jorge Sánchez 86’), Xavier Baez, Manuel Iturra, Edgar Espindola (Michel García 46’), Claudio Riaño (Fabián Barreiro 71’) and Edson Puch.
TIGRES: Nahuel Guzmán; Jorge Torres Nilo, Francisco Meza, Hugo Ayala, Luis Rodríguez, Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas, Javier Aquino, Ismael Sosa, Eduardo Vargas (Lucas Zelarayan 72’) and André-Pierre Gignac.
0-1 (16’) Ismael Sosa’s cross following a corner finds Francisco Meza who scores with a header.
1-1 (42’) Jairo González from a free kick defeats Nahuel.
NECAXA: Manuel Iturra (6’) y Xavier Baez (85’)
TIGRES: Jorge Torres Nilo (41’), Jesús Dueñas (76’) and Lucas Zelarayan (85’)