Draw Secures Playoffs: 1-1
AGUASCALIENTES, April 21.- The UANL Tigres secured a spot in the Playoffs for the Clausura 2018 title with a 1-1 draw against the Necaxa Rayos.
All that remains to be confirmed with this result is the position our team will finish in amongst the top eight clubs.
Tigres controlled the first 45 minutes, with attacks on both flanks and short-range one-two plays, such as at minute three when Javier Aquino and André-Pierre Gignac had an opportunity that was intercepted.
Then, at minute seven, a header by Sosa went over the net guarded by Barovero, who, at 12’, was forced into action again to freeze an option created by Tigres following a corner.
The Rayos broke away endeavoring to react, but Rafael de Souza appeared outside the box to put a stop to their threat.
The best opportunity of the moment came at 16’, when Eduardo Vargas leaped and headed the ball just high of the crossbar. Our team was clearly ahead in attacking the opponent’s net.
However, Dieter Villalpando raised the banner for the Necaxa cause, but with a shot that missed far to the right.
At 24’, Vargas came through from the left and crossed to Ismael Sosa, whose attempt went wide of the right post.
But the Incomparable Ones (Tigres fans) who had travelled to Aguascalientes were ecstatic when, at 28’, Gignac cut back, assisting Vargas, who came face to face with the netkeeper and scored, making it 1-0.
Now that they were ahead, Tigres were able to ease off on their overlapping, but not ball recovery.
The Rayos’ best play occurred at minute 38, though Víctor Dávila’s powerful shot from outside the box was easily saved by Nahuel Guzmán.
At 40’, Sosa let the opponent off when Gignac recovered along the left, crossed to the Argentine player, whose attempt went wide of the left post. Just before the end of the first half, the goalkeeper intercepted a one-two between Vargas and Sosa.
Both sides started the second half with the same players. Tigres came out with the idea of scoring their second goal and, at 47’, following a corner, a shot by Hugo Ayala was wide of Barovero’s right post.
At 49’, a mid-range shot by Luis Gallegos was saved by Nahuel Guzmán, and just a minute later Roberto Alvarado sent the ball high over the bar.
Ismael Sosa tried to change the pace by breaking away down the right, but Barovero intercepted his cross. Just a minute later, Carlos González equalized with a header.
The home side wanted to make the most of this moment and, at 57’, another shot by Dávila missed to the left. Necaxa sustained their attack on Patón’s goal.
Tuca then decided to make his first substitution, replacing Sosa with Jürgen Damm, to take advantage of his speed along the right flank. At minute 65, Damm had his first opportunity, assisted by Aquino inside the box, but his shot was saved by Barovero.
Tuca then sent Lucas Zelarayán on to try to play the ball more in the midfield, sacrificing Vargas, who seemed to be overpowered by the opponent.
Tigres no longer had possession, forcing them to run twice the distance and seek recovery and overlapping, without putting possession at risk.
Nahuel made a one-handed save at minute 77, when a cross began to close in to the extent that his net came under threat.
Our side sought to react along both flanks, but neither Aquino nor Damm were able to penetrate the box. However, at 82’ Dueñas sent a shot over the bar, reflecting Tigres’ relentless attack on the opponent’s goal.
Ultimately, a draw secures Tigres’ qualification to the Playoffs. They just need to wait and see what their final position in the tournament will be.
NECAXA: Marcelo Barovero; Bryan Beckeles, Igor Lichnovsky, Dieter Villalpando, Roberto Alvarado, Víctor Dávila (Martín Barragán 66’), Miguel Ponce (Daniel Álvarez 78’), Luis Gallegos, Fernando González (Gustavo Culma 88’), Carlos González and Mario de Luna.
TIGRES: Nahuel Guzmán; Jorge Torres Nilo, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Alberto Acosta, Jesús Dueñas (Kolo 88’), Rafael de Souza, Javier Aquino, Ismael Sosa (Jürgen Damm 63’), Eduardo Vargas (Lucas Zelarayan 71’) and André-Pierre Gignac.
0-1 (28’) André-Pierre Gignac cuts back, assisting Eduardo Vargas, who comes face to face with the goalkeeper inside the box to score.
1-1 (54’) Cross from the right that Carlos González heads into the back of the net.
NECAXA: Brayan Beckeles (93’).