1-0 down, but it’s not over yet
SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA, 23 de Abril.- Tigres lost at home 1-0 in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League Final, against Rayados. However, the series could still go either way in the second leg at Monterrey’s Stadium, where our side will fight courageously to the finish, just as we did in December 2017.
A goal just before the end of the first half put our team put on the spot, while Carlos Salcedo and Jesús Dueñas had to play as wingers since Luis Rodríguez had been handed a one-match ban.
The first half wasn’t particularly good for our side, who struggled not only with the opponent’s defense, but also in their overlapping and couldn’t even get close to the visitor’s goal.
Enner Valencia snatched a ball from the goalkeeper just three minutes into the match, but touched it with his hand, giving away a free kick. A cross for Monterrey by Dorlán Pabón was blocked by Nahuel Guzmán.
Later, at 18’, Avilés Hurtado’s header went into Nahuel’s hands, and, at 21’, Tigres keeper spectacularly saved his goal from defeat.
Funes Mori appeared at 23’ with a shot that Patón blocked. The opponent was creating dangerous-looking opportunities, while our side couldn’t seem to advance beyond the midfield area.
Tigres tried to react at 27’ with a cross into the box by Carioca, looking for Valencia, but the defense intervened.
At the 31st minute, Jesús Dueñas then pressed forward and crossed to the center of the box, but no one managed to finish.
At 38’, the opponent had another chance when Pabón fired off a shot into Nahuel’s hands, and then Nicolás Sánchez broke through to shoot to the right, but, fortunately for us, hit the post.
Just when it look as though the first half would end in a tie, Pabón crossed with a corner kick to the center of the box, where Sánchez scored with a header. The 1-0 score was a hard blow, but we weren’t finished yet.
Tigres took control of the second half, attacking along the flanks and keeping Marcelo Barovero busy.
At 49’, Carlos Salcedo attempted a one-two with Eduardo Vargas, but the ball disappeared over the byline.
Then, at 55’, Carioca’s powerful counterattack was saved by Rayados’ keeper. Our side was beginning to doggedly unnerve the opponent.
At 60’, Valencia took a direct free kick aimed at the left post, but Barovero blocked the shot.
At that point in the match, Tuca decided to replace Vargas and Aquino with André-Pierre Gignac and Jürgen Damm, allowing our side to put more pressure on up front.
At 63’, Valencia played a wall pass with Jesús Dueñas, who penetrated the goal area from the left and shot from the center, forcing Barovero to use all his skills to overcome the threat to his goal.
Monterrey tried to regain control with a free kick by Avilés Hurtado, but Patón rushed off his line to intervene.
Afterwards, at 75’, Luis Quiñones broke into the box with an advantage, but the pass was too long and Barovero held tightly onto the ball to prevent another attempt.
Gignac tried his luck with a mid-distance shot into Barovero’s hands. Tigres continued to put the pressure on.
Guido Pizarro came close at 85’, when Damm crossed into the box, but the captain’s header went wide to the left.
Ultimately, Tigres persisted against a well-defended, and sometimes lucky, goal.
TIGRES: 1 Nahuel Guzmán; 3 Carlos Salcedo, 4 Hugo Ayala, 5 Rafael de Souza, 9 Eduardo Vargas (10 André-Pierre Gignac 59’), 13 Enner Valencia, 19 Guido Pizarro, 20 Javier Aquino (25 Jürgen Damm 59’), 21 Francisco Meza, 26 Luis Quiñones and 29 Jesús Dueñas.
MGR.: RICARDO FERRETTI
MONTERREY: 1 Marcelo Barovero, 4 Nicolás Sánchez, 7 Rogelio Funes, 8 Dorlán Pabón (11 Leonel Vangioni 88’), 16 Celso Ortiz, 17 Jesús Gallardo, 18 Aviles Hurtado (32 Maximiliano Meza 72’), 20 Rodolfo Pizarro, 21 Miguel Layún, 29 Carlos Rodríguez (35 Eric Cantún 88’) and 33 Stefan Medina.
MGR.: DIEGO ALONSO
0-1 (43’) A cross by Dorlán Pabón following a corner finds Nicolás Sánchez, who scores with a header.
TIGRES: Hugo Ayala (17’)
MONTERREY: Nicolás Sánchez (15’), Aviles Hurtado (36’), Celso Ortíz (58’) and Jesús Gallardo (89’)
REFEREE: John Pitti (PAN)
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 1: Christián Ramírez (HON)
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 2: Alejandro Camarena (PAN)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Said Martínez (HON)