We Came So Close
SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA, December 15th.- Tigres Women gave their all and were in control, but in the end, they became runners up in the Women’s Liga MX, having lost in a penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 in regular time.
Our players arrived at the Universitario Stadium with the possibility of becoming two-times champions of Mexican women’s soccer, but Nayelli Rangel, Carolina Jaramillo and Belén Cruz missed their shots from the penalty spots.
In regular time, with the aggregate at 3-2, Liliana Mercado equalized with a penalty.
The match got off to an even start, but little by title our girls began to dominate in possession, rotating the ball and surpassing the opponent in the attack, though lacking decisiveness in finishing plays.
Karen Luna penetrated the box at minute 11, but was disarmed. Then, at 18’, Belén Cruz was unable to reach a cross from Carolina Jaramillo, putting an end to this goal opportunity.
The opponent refused to pull back, but they didn’t take the initiative either, although, at 24’, our netkeeper Alejandra Gutiérrez intercepted with both hands a powerful shot by Zulma Hernández who had managed to shake off our defenders.
Later on, América’s goalkeeper prevented the fall of her goal when, at 28’, she saved a shot that came very close.
It looked as though it were just a matter of time, since our side certainly deserved more. In fact, at 34’, Lizbeth Ovalle managed to cross, but Katty Martínez was too far away.
The evening then became complicated, since Karen Luna received a hard blow to the leg, forcing her to leave the field at 38’, with Natalia Villarreal coming on to take her place.
This in no way diminished the idea of going all out for a goal, which Katty Martínez almost achieved at 42’, with a shot that ended up as a corner. In the very next play, Nayeli Rangel came very close with a header that was barely wide to the left.
Just when it seemed they would go into the break with a goalless draw, Diana González scored in stoppage time with a shot from inside the box, following a corner. This brought the score to 1-0, which was met with a deafening silence, although it was sure to strengthen our efforts in the second half.
Tigres Women started the second half with the clear objective of attacking more and seeking the goal without so many complications, something they attempted at 49’, when Katty Martínez smashed her shot into the crossbar from inside the box.
Ovalle appeared with an individual play on the right, crossing to Belén Cruz, but the ball went high at minute 52.
Time was becoming our ladies’ foe. Even though they still had the initiative and control, they were unable to generate any good opportunities.
At minute 69, Nayeli Rangel smashed the ball into the crossbar, Greta Espinoza caught the ball on the rebound, but was brought down inside the box and awarded a penalty.
At minute 71, Liliana Mercado brought the Universitario Stadium to its feet when she converted a penalty to bring the Final to a 1-1 draw.
Ramón Villa Zevallos then decided to make his second substitution, sending World Cup player Alisson González on to replace Katty Martínez, clearly seeking to strengthen the attack.
Belén Cruz came close to turning the score around when, at minute 80, she penetrated the box, but América’s goalkeeper blocked her shot.
The referee denied our side a penalty, despite a clear handball by Zulma Hernández, just when Tigres Women were putting the pressure on the opponent’s goal.
Time was up and the match was decided with a penalty shootout El.
TIGRES WOMEN: Alejandra Gutiérrez; Greta Espinoza, Nancy Antonio, Liliana Mercado, Carolina Jaramillo, Katty Martínez (Alison González 78’), Nayeli Rangel, Karen Luna (Natalia Villarreal 38’), Lizbeth Ovalle, Belén Cruz and Selene Cortés.
MGR.: RAMÓN VILLA ZEBALLOS
AMÉRICA WOMEN: Cecilia Santiago; Marylin Díaz, Ana Lozada, Mónica Rodríguez, Jana Gutiérrez, Esmeralda Verdugo, Zulma Hernández, Diana González (Marcela Valera 81’), Lucero Cuevas, Daniela Espinoza (Vannya García 93’) and Betsy Cuevas (Citlali Hernández 78’).
MGR.: LEONARDO CUÉLLAR
0-1 (45+1) Following a corner, Diana González shoots inside the goal area and scores.
1-1 (71’) Penalty converted by Liliana Mercado to the goalkeeper’s left.
TIGRES WOMEN: Greta Espinoza (10’) and Nancy Antonio (52’)
AMÉRICA WOMEN: Jana Gutiérrez (26’), Daniela Espinoza (35’) and Marcela Valera (84’)
REFEREE: Quetzalli Alvarado
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 1: Mayra Mora
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 2: Sandra Ramírez
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Katia García