Triumph in Season Finale: Ready for the Playoffs!

SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA, May 4.- The UANL Tigres declared that they are ready for the Clausura 2019 Playoffs, having defeated Guadalajara Chivas 2-1 this evening and ended the regular phase of the tournament in second place with 37 points.

The man of the evening was Lucas Zelarayán, with one assist and one goal, but the noteworthiest of the evening was André-Pierre Gignac, who scored his 102nd goal with Tigres, just two behind the record set by Tomás Boy, the manager of today’s opponent, Chivas, in the Universitario Stadium.

 

FIRST HALF

Half of our starting side was made up of alternates, perhaps to ensure that the team would be rested for the beginning of the Playoffs next week, although this meant that they had some difficulty in their overlapping at first.

Chivas, endeavoring to take advantage of this, sought possession and rapid overlapping runs.

Four minutes in, Isaac Brizuela’s shot was blocked and sent out for a corner by Nahuel Guzmán. A few minutes on, at 12’, Patón once more intercepted the opponent’s attack, which had promised to be more than just a scare.

Our side, supported by the Incomparable fans who remained true despite the loss in the Concacaf Final, reacted at minute 18, when Chilean player Eduardo Vargas fired off a powerful shot that the keeper managed to send out for a corner.

The very next play saw Francisco Meza heading the ball into the hands of goalkeeper Miguel Jiménez.

It looked as though the players directed by Ricardo Ferretti, who had to watch the match from a box owing to a suspension, could create an even greater threat on the visitor’s goal.

At minute 31, Carlos Salcedo blocked Chivas’ attack with a superb slide tackle, putting para Patón Guzmán at ease.

Guadalajara hinted at a good attack, reflected at 36’ when Walter Sandoval seemed to take Guzmán by surprise with a lob, but the Argentine keeper stretched to the limit to prevent his net from falling to the opponent.

A minute afterwards, there was a scramble for the ball inside Tigres’ box, but Gignac came forward to clear away any danger, conceding a corner.

Barely 50 seconds later, Lucas Zelarayán advanced along the left and crossed into the box, where Gignac set the Universitario alight with a header, bringing the score to 1-0 and making the evening look brighter for us.

At 43’, the French player came close again with a long-range shot that nearly defeated the keeper, but Jiménez blocked the shot and conceded a corner.

 

SECOND HALF

Tuca gave Guido Pizarro a rest in the second half and replaced him with Jesús Dueñas, seeking to maintain the control already achieved in the midfield.

At 47’, Gignac looked for a long ball inside the box, but the goalkeeper blocked any attempts to control the ball.

Guadalajara tried to respond at 51’, when Alan Pulido’s shot went over the crossbar and, in the next play, Gignac sent the ball too high.

Vargas created a good individual opportunity at 62’, when the ball found him in the goal area, but the defense intervened.

At 64’, Javier López fired off a shot that missed to the left of Nahuel’s net and, seconds later, Luis Quiñones came on to substitute Vargas.

Gignac had yet another good chance at the 66th minute with a mid-range shot that the keeper only just managed to save.

Venegas got off a cross that looked terrible, but, in fact, put Guadalajara in a fix when the ball fell and hit the crossbar.

At that point, Guadalajara began to threaten Nahuel’s goal with greater determination, forcing the Argentine keeper to draw on all his skills a couple of times, at 72’ and 74’.

But Tigres had even more to say through Luis Quiñones, who advanced down the middle and passed to Zelarayán, who turned and crossed to score. Our side was ahead 2-0 at the 76th minute.

With his mind on the Playoffs, Tuca made his third change, replacing Carlos Salcedo with Rafael de Souza, with the idea of refreshing the defense, but, at 79’, Ernesto Vega scored with a mid-range shot to narrow the difference to 2-1.

Two minutes later, Tigres almost scored their third, when Zelarayán, off  pass from Quiñones, shook off his mark and crossed to an unmarked Damm, but the defense intervened.

At 83’, Guadalajara came close to equalizing when Javier López penetrated the box and crossed as Nahuel came off his line, but the ball went wide of the right post.

Seconds later, Gignac responded, broke away down the right and crossed, but the goalkeeper blocked the shot, conceding a corner.

Chivas had another chance at 92’, but Nahuel Guzmán kept his net and his side’s victory safe, miraculously blocking Chofis’ shot.

 

LINEUPS

TIGRES: 1 Nahuel Guzmán; 2 Israel Jiménez, 3 Carlos Salcedo (5 Rafael de Souza 79’), 6 Jorge Torres Nilo, 8 Lucas Zelarayán, 9 Eduardo Vargas (26 Luis Quiñones 65’), 10 André-Pierre Gignac, 15 Francisco Venegas, 19 Guido Pizarro (29 Jesús Dueñas 46’), 21 Francisco Meza and 25 Jürgen Damm.

MGR.: RICARDO FERRETTI

GUADALAJARA: 34 Miguel Jiménez; 2 José Carlos Van Ranking, 4 Jair Pereira, 9 Alan Pulido, 10 Javier López, 11 Isaac Brizuela, 13 Walter Sandoval (7 Ernesto Vega 71’), 16 Miguel Ponce (27 Carlos Villanueva 57’), 20 Jesús Molina, 21 Hiram Mier and 25 Michael Pérez (6 Dieter Villalpando 65’).

MGR.: TOMÁS BOY

 

GOALS

1-0 (38’) Lucas Zelarayán crosses from the left and André-Pierre Gignac scores with a header.

2-0 (76’) Luis Quiñones advances down the middle and passes to Lucas Zelarayán, who turns and crosses to score.

2-1 (79’) Ernesto Vega scores with a mid-range shot inside the right post to defeat Nahuel Guzmán.

 

YELLOW CARDS

TIGRES: Francisco Venegas (62’)

GUADALAJARA: Alan Pulido (42’)

 

RED CARDS

None

 

REFEREE: Jorge Antonio Pérez

ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 1: Enrique Bustos

ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 2: José de Jesús Baños

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Guillermo Pacheco