We’re in the Final… the Bato way!

SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA, May 18th.- Tonight, the UANL Tigres played the Bato way, the Tigre way, tapping into their pride to eliminate the Monterrey Rayados and reach another Mexican football Final.

Guido Pizarro was taken to hospital for a head injury sustained precisely when he scored our side’s winning goal at the 42nd minute of the match.

Cries of “Tigres, Tigres” invaded San Nicolás and the Universitario Stadium from its very foundations and the spirit of Osvaldo Batocletti worked its magic from heaven, where he no doubt watched the local derby and drove us to win.

Pizarro’s sought-after goal allowed us to aspire to another Final, making amends for what happened in the CONCACAF, where we lost 2-1 on aggregate.

Prior to this, Javier Aquino created the first opportunity, with a mid-distance shot that Marcelo Barovero one-handedly palmed out of play, conceding a corner. Tigres knew what was at stake and persisted in their attack.

Meanwhile, Monterrey was playing cautiously, relying on their one-goal advantage and thinking that it would just be a matter of time before they scored, which would have forced Ricardo Ferretti’s men to secure three goals.

At minute 7’, we had a chance when Rodolfo Pizarro touched the ball with his hand inside the box, but referee Marco Antonio Ortiz refused to acknowledge it, even after checking with VAR.

Tigres continued to press forward, while Rayados’ goalkeeper, Marcelo Barovero, focused on saving his squad. It wasn’t until the 42nd minute of action that Eduardo Vargas came forward, crossed into the box, where Guido Pizarro won in the air and headed the ball into the net.

The captain, who refused to be defeated by a blow to his head, was taken to hospital to be checked, but after all it was just a bang, so he went back to the Stadium to celebrate with his team and fans. Meanwhile, Francisco Meza had taken his place on the pitch.

Tuca’s players continued to attack, though first lost some ground to the visitors, who in the first minutes posed a threat to the net so heroically defended by Nahuel Guzmán.

At 50’, there was yet another foul inside the penalty area when Stefan Medina trod on Javier Aquino. Even though the referee watched the replay, he didn’t award a penalty.

Nevertheless, this did not dampen the spirits of the home side, who pressed forward with their attack and ball possession, but without any shots at goal. At that point, Monterrey began to attack more fiercely and, at 66’, Pizarro hit the woodwork, to the relief of his hosts.

Soon after, at 70’, Nahuel blocked a shot by Pizarro; five minutes later, Rogelio Funes came so close, but his shot went high; then, at 77’, our hearts missed a beat when Rayados put the ball in the net, but their goal was annulled.

A second goal wasn’t of much use to us, since one by the opponent would force us to score three, so our priority was to defend. However, in the last minutes we had three goal opportunities.

At 87’, Eduardo Vargas came face to face with Barovero’s substitute, Luis Cárdenas, who blocked the shot.

Then Jürgen Damm, who had also come on as a substitute, broke away twice. First he crossed to Gignac, who couldn’t get off a good shot, crossed again, though the Frenchman was unable to finish, and, finally, he made his way into the box, but his attempt went high.

Tigres is in the Final, and they did it the Bato way… the Tigre way.