With One Foot in the Final: 3-0!
SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA, April 3rd.- The UANL Tigres had cause for celebration this evening, placing one foot in the Final of the Concacaf Champions League by defeating Santos Laguna 3-0 in the first leg of the Semifinal.
Eduardo Vargas and Enner Valencia, the latter with a brace, scored the three goals between them, all in the first half.
Our team got straight into their stride, as requested by the manager before the match, with ball control and possession. In fact, Eduardo Vargas came close at the five-minute mark, but the referee had already signaled offside.
But, three minutes later, the Chilean footballer broke into the box again, counterattacking when keeper Orozco saved a shot by Julián Quiñones and Vargas took advantage of the rebound to score, making it 1-0 and bringing the fans in the Universitario Stadium to their feet.
After the goal, the opponent seemed to grow somewhat, increasing their recovery and attack, only to encounter an inspired Argentine keeper, Nahuel Guzmán, who, at 23’, blocked Julio Furch’s point-blank shot.
A couple of minutes later, at 25’, Patón (Nahuel Guzmán’s nickname) loomed large again to intercept a powerful shot by Matheus Doria.
However, Ricardo Ferretti’s men wanted more and, at 27’, Chaka Rodríguez controlled along the right flank and crossed into the heart of the penalty area, where Enner Valencia leapt and headed the ball into the net, scoring Tigres’ second.
The Ecuadorian was also inspired and, at minute 30, came close again inside the box, but the defense intervened.
Nevertheless, minute 36 told another story when Luis Quiñones controlled, broke away down the right and crossed to the near post, where Valencia finished and brought the score to 3-0 – it was the start of a brilliant evening for our team.
Afterwards, at 40’, Vargas’ indirect free kicked smashed into the wall, but he fired off a shot on the rebound that the defense intercepted and sent out of play for a corner.
After the break, Tigres aimed to continue with the same strategy against an opponent that wanted to wake up and sought to close the gaps, but, at 56’, Julián Quiñones attacked along the left, crossed, but just as Valencia was about to shoot, the defense intervened.
Two minutes afterwards, the Ecuadorian fired off a shot from inside the box, but Orozco made a spectacular save.
Tigres created another opportunity at 64’, when Valencia broke away along the right and cut back to Vargas, whose shot was saved by Orozco, with the rebound finding Julián, but his attempt was intercepted by the defense whose clearance went out of play, conceding a corner.
Tuca chose to make his first substitution on the pitch, taking Luis Quiñones off at minute 71 and replacing him with Javier Aquino, who had already recovered from an injury sustained on Saturday.
Carioca had a chance at 75’, with a direct free kick that only just missed to the left.
Nahuel appeared again at minute 77, when the Argentine saved an attempt by Marlos Moreno from the center of the box and up close, in two moves.
Just before the final whistle blow, Jesús Dueñas came close to the fourth, when, in a one-two with Vargas, he came face-to-face with the goal, but Orozco intervened, and then Valencia had a chance with a shot that looked as though it would go into the upper-left corner.
TIGRES: 1 Nahuel Guzmán; 3 Carlos Salcedo, 4 Hugo Ayala, 5 Rafael de Souza, 9 Eduardo Vargas, 13 Enner Valencia, 19 Guido Pizarro, 26 Luis Quiñones (20 Javier Aquino 71’), 28 Luis Rodríguez, 29 Jesús Dueñas and 33 Julián Quiñones.
MGR.: RICARDO FERRETTI
SANTOS: 1 Jonathan Orozco; 2 Javier Abella, 4 Jesús Ángulo, 5 Hugo Nervo, 9 Julio Furch, 10 Diego Valdes, 11 Marlos Moreno, 16 Ulises Rivas (24 Javier Correa 46’), 18 Ayrton Preciado (15 Brian Lozano 74’), 21 Matheus Doria and 23 Juan Vazquez.
MGR.: SALVADOR REYES JR.
1-0 (8’) The ball jumps over the line, finds Eduardo Vargas, who shoots and scores.
2-0 (27’) Cross from the right by Luis Rodríguez to Enner Valencia, who heads the ball in.
3-0 (36’) Luis Quiñones crosses from the right to the near post, where Enner Valencia scores.
TIGRES: Guido Pizarro (51’)
SANTOS: Javier Correa (25’)
REFEREE: Ismall Elfath (USA)
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 1: Corey Parker (USA)
ASSISTANT REFEREE No. 2: Kyle Atkins (USA)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Armando Villareal (USA)