Tigres and Monterrey fought out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the 2017 Liga MX Apertura Final.
The state of Nuevo Leon has been under the microscope all week, given that this marks the first ever Clasico Regiomontanto in a Liga MX Final.
And it didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken when Nico Sanchez headed Carlos Sanchez’s cross straight past Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman as the visitors started full of purpose.
Faced with a Monterrey side used to constant pressing, Tigres opted for a more immediate route, with Andre-Pierre Gignac at the center of things and Enner Valencia playing at an inward position.
Tigres were immediately rewarded in the 26th minute when Enner Valencia was tripped by Rogelio Funes Mori inside the box and a penalty was called. The same Valencia stepped up, and with an audacious “Panenka” leveled the score at one goal apiece.
Tigres proceeded to pull the strings, and it was virtually one-way traffic from there on, with Valencia coming close to giving the hosts the lead.
But Monterrey were not without chances themselves. In the 69th minute, a brilliant through ball from Rogelio Funes Mori finished with 1 v 1 situation between Nahuel Guzman and Dorlan Pabon, who failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
Tigres’ game plan held firm, though, and they could have won it themselves when Andre-Pierre Gignac smashed the ball into the woodwork from a long range shot.
The match eventually settled in the last few minutes, although it ended with a bit of controversy when both Leonel Vangioni and Hugo Ayala were sent off for Monterrey and Tigres respectively.
Next, both teams will meet again on Sunday at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer, where a new Liga MX champion will be crowned.