More Alive than Ever: 2-0!
MORELIA, November 2.- In the midst of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations, the UANL Tigres proved that they are more alive than ever, defeating hosts Morelia Monarcas 2-0 and keeping their spot in the qualification zone for the Apertura 2018 Playoffs.
A red card for Gabriel Achilier at minute 22 indicated by VAR forced Morelia to play in their own area, making it just a matter of time before Tigres would score through Juninho, with a penalty, and Enner Valencia, both in the second half.
The two-faceted first half started with the hosts showing the initiative and seeking to damage Nahuel Guzmán’s net as soon as possible. In fact, Patón blocked an attempt one-handedly just 47 seconds into the game.
Then, at minute three, Sebastián Ferreira’s shot went wide of Nahuel’s goal and, at 7’, Vilchis’ header was cleared by Hugo Ayala, clearly showing the home side’s determination to attack.
Nahuel was busy again in a one-on-one at minute 12, slapping the ball away to save his goal and Guido Pizarro rapidly clearing it far away from the danger zone.
The game was beginning to look difficult for our team, but, little by little, Ricardo Ferretti’s men began to gain possession and tried to play across the entire field of play.
VAR came into action soon afterwards. At minute 18, Achilier committed a foul on Carioca, although the referee had not noticed the severity of the offense, but after viewing the monitor he decided to send the Monarca player off at 22’.
Being one man up on the pitch allowed Tigres to improve their positioning. Morelia moved their lines back, handing the initiative over to our side, to give us possession and goal opportunities.
At 24’, André-Pierre Gignac’s powerful shot was blocked by the goalkeeper and, in the counterattack, Guido Pizarro’s attempt was high.
Then, at 32’, it was Carioca’s turn but goalkeeper Sosa easily intervened and, a minute on, youth player Rafael Durán came close with a header that just missed to the right.
After two more attempts, one by Javier Aquino that was off-target and another by Gignac that was blocked by the goalkeeper, the Oaxacan penetrated the box with no one to stop him, but he was intercepted by the goalkeeper again.
Two minutes into injury time, Gignac came close to scoring, but he hesitated and lost the ball as he came face-to-face with the goalkeeper.
A minute later, Morelia brought their fans to their feet when Rodolfo Vilchis had an opportunity against Nahuel but his shot went over the net. Our team could breathe a sigh of relief.
Tuca made two substitutions for the second half, replacing Vargas and Durán with Enner Valencia and Julián Quiñones, seeking the accuracy they needed inside the box.
At minute 50, Valencia came into the box from his left, in an individual play, but his final shot was intercepted.
Two minutes later, Julián Quiñones broke in unmarked but his header was too weak and then, at 53’, Carioca’s mid-distance shot went over the crossbar.
Quiñones then appeared in the goal area where he drew a foul and Juninho converted the penalty to put our team ahead.
With this advantage, possession became more noticeable, but Morelia wouldn’t give up so easily and began to play with an all-or-nothing approach.
But just as Morelia was pressing forward to Nahuel’s goal, Quiñones rapidly broke away and sent a long pass to Valencia, who controlled, defeated an opponent and shot the ball past the goalkeeper into the back of the net, making it 2-0 and the evening even livelier.
At 80’, Carioca assisted an unmarked Valencia, but the goalkeeper blocked his shot in the one-on-one.
Two minutes on, Morelia’s efforts were reflected in a powerful mid-distance shot that Nahuel just managed to intercept, conceding a corner. The next play was a dangerous attack by the opponent, but Tigres’ defense prevailed.
In the end, time was on our team’s side, giving them a key win in their aspirations to qualify for the Playoffs.
MORELIA: Sebastián Sosa; Carlos Guzmán, Sebastián Vegas, Carlos Fierro, Rodolfo Vilchis, Emanuel Loeschibor, Rodrigo Millar (Edison Flores 74’), Sebastián Ferreira (Efraín Velarde 34’), Gabriel Achilier, Aldo Rocha and Miguel Sansores. (Diego Valdés 46’)
MGR.: ROBERTO HERNÁNDEZ
TIGRES: Nahuel Guzmán; Luis Rodríguez, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Jesús Dueñas, Rafael de Souza (Eduardo Tercero 85’), Guido Pizarro, Javier Aquino, Rafael Durán (Julián Quiñones 46’), Eduardo Vargas (Enner Valencia 46’) and André-Pierre Gignac.
MGR.: RICARDO FERRETTI
0-1 (58’) Penalty converted by Juninho.
0-2 (68’) Julián Quiñones long-distance pass to Enner Valencia, who controls, defeats a defender and scores.
MORELIA: Rodrigo Millar (66’) and Diego Valdés (92’)
TIGRES: Hugo Ayala (16’), Jesús Dueñas (27’) and Guido Pizarro (86’)
Morelia: Gabriel Achilier (22’)
REFEREE: Jorge A. Pérez
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 1: Alberto Morín
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 2: César Cerritos
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Alejandro Funk