We’re in Another Final: 5-3 on penalties!
HOUSTON, August 20.- Yet again in a shootout resulting from a last-minute goal, in a replay of the Apertura 2016 Final, the UANL Tigres defeated América after drawing 2-2 in regulation time.
Two own goals, the second in the very last play of the match, gave our side the possibility of looking at another Final in a penalty shootout, which they won 5-3, bringing them closer to another title, this time the Leagues Cup.
The start of the match was dominated by América, but as the minutes went by, the blue-and-yellow Tigres gradually began to control the ball, putting the pressure on América’s goalkeeper from both sides.
At minute seven, team captain, Guido Pizarro, had a chance outside the box, but just as he was about to fire off a shot, the defense intervened.
Then, at 14’, Jürgen Damm posed a threat along the right flank, sending a cross that the keeper failed to save and then Paul Aguilar deflected towards his own goal, trying to prevent Enner Valencia from scoring. It was a clear own goal.
Now that our team was ahead, they slowed their pace somewhat, while América had to attack to get back into the match.
As a result out players created several opportunities, such as at 21’, when Damm broke away yet again and crossed inside the box, but this time the defense had no trouble in denying him his goal.
Then, at 24’, Damm tried again, but his powerful shot missed to the right.
And, at 31’, Damm looked as though he would create another opportunity, breaking into the area ahead of his mark and coming face to face with the keeper, but he decided to center, missing the chance when América’s keeper intervened.
Just when it could have been 2-0, three minutes later, América was given the chance to equalize when they were awarded a penalty with the support of VAR. Andrés Ibargüen converted to make it 1-1.
The goal changed our players’ attitude, since, at minute 38, Damm broke away again and passed to Javier Aquino, whose header was saved by Oscar Jiménez.
Tigres was in control at the start of the second half, with ball possession and overlap runs, but lacked effectiveness, while the opponent had decided to play by counterattacking.
At 57’, Vargas had a good look at goal with a midrange shot that was intercepted by the defense and ended up in the keeper’s hands.
Then, at 60’, Luis Quiñones, who had come on to replace Damm, sent a cross to Valencia, but the Ecuadorian’s shot went over the crossbar.
Three minutes later, Valencia came close yet again, with a header following a cross by Chaka Rodríguez, straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Afterwards, Luis Quiñones broke into the box as far as the goal line, but the defense intercepted his cross, conceding a corner.
At this point, our team was dominating the opponent, giving the sensation that they might score at any moment.
At 75’, América put the pressure on Patón’s net, with a shot from the left that went past the right post.
The opponent found a goal in their next counterattack through a mid-range shot by Ibargüen that Nahuel deflected, but not enough to avoid the 2-1 that looked to put us out of the running.
Later, América ended up one man down, when Roger Martínez, was sent off with just five minutes remaining on the clock, allowing Tigres to attack the opponent’s goal.
At 95’, Chaka Rodríguez threw in from the right, putting the ball in the box, where Bruno Valdez tried to head the ball clear, but sent it into his own net.
The rest were from penalties, with 100% effectiveness from Tigres players Gignac, Valencia, Quiñones, Chaka and Carlos Salcedo, who scored the winning goal after Nahuel saved Leonel López’s shot.
In this way, Tigres will be playing their second final in three months, this time in the Leagues Cup, in Las Vegas, against Cruz Azul.
AMÉRICA: 27 Oscar Jiménez; 3 Jorge Sánchez, 5 Guido Rodríguez, 9 Roger Martínez, 11 Andrés Ibargüen, 17 Francisco Cordova (187 Israel García 76’), 18 Bruno Valdez, 22 Paul Aguilar, 23 Antonio López (2 Carlos Vargas 40’), 25 Fernando González and 30 Alex Ibarra (206 Arturo Sánchez 85’).
MGR.: MIGUEL HERRERA
TIGRES: 1 Nahuel Guzmán; 3 Carlos Salcedo, 4 Hugo Ayala, 6 Jorge Torres Nilo, 9 Eduardo Vargas (10 André-Pierre Gignac 61’) 13 Enner Valencia, 19 Guido Pizarro, 20 Javier Aquino, 25 Jürgen Damm (23 Luis Quiñones 58’), 28 Luis Rodríguez and Jesús Dueñas (5 Rafael de Souza 46’).
MGR.: RICARDO FERRETTI
- (14’) Own goal by Paul Aguilar.
1-1 (36’) Penalty converted by Andrés Ibargüen.
2-1 (83’) Andrés Ibargüen mid-range shot that Nahuel was unable to deflect.
2-2 (95’) Own goal by Bruno Valdez with a header in the box when trying to clear.
AMÉRICA: Antonio López (12’)
TIGRES: Eduardo Vargas (24’) and André-Pierre Gignac (89’)
AMÉRICA: Roger Martínez (89’)