A gritty yet cerebral match between Tigres and Pumas ended in a 1-1 draw. The teams both started out rather slow. Pumas focused on keeping numbers back on defense, which allowed Tigres room to work. Jürgen Damm and André-Pierre Gignac were allowed to work the ball low, however they weren’t able to get many good chances on goal in the early going.
Pumas was able to counterattack from time to time, with Matías Britos able to get a couple of decent shots on goal. Aarón Fernández was able to safely seee the shots off. 29 minutes in, Pablo Barrera was sprung on a great ball and had a step on the defense, however his angled shot was just wide of Fernández.
It wouldn’t last though for Pumas. In the 40th minute, Jürgen Damm laid off a pass to Eduardo Vargas, who hit a rocket from about 20 yards out to put Tigres up 1-0 just before the half.
Vargas was almost gifted a goal a couple of minutes later when Pumas center back Pablo Jáquez scuffed his clearance, and fell down. Vargas was in all alone on Fernández, but Vargas’ shot was stopped by the goalkeeper.
The second half started rather slowly as Tigres focused on defense a bit more while Pumas tried to make the most of their chances. About ten minutes in to the second half, Matías Britos worked his way down the left and hit a brilliant cross across the front of the goal. A sliding Pumas player just missed the tap in, however he was able to draw both Tigres center backs with him. This left Pablo Barrera all alone on the right, who teed up a tough angle shot that whistled just wide.
In the 60th minute, Nicolás Castillo came on for Alan Mendoza. Just a minute later, Matías Britos found himself with the ball in the Tigres box and surrounded by five yellow jerseys. He was able to get the ball out to Castillo, who drew the defenders. Castillo played a cross to Britos, who headed the ball in to draw Pumas level.
Shortly after Ismael Sosa was brought on by Tigres, he had a wide open chance for glory against his old team, however his shot went well high. In the 84th minute, Nicolás Castillo hit a rocket off of the crossbar that deflected up and hit the crossbar again before bouncing out into the box. He was whistled for a foul on Aarón Fernández, and when he protested he was shown a yellow card by referee Mark Geiger.
As time was expiring, disaster almost struck for Pumas. Darío Verón went to clear a ball and it trickled in toward goal, however luckily for Pumas Érik Vera was there to clear it out before the ball crossed the line.
The 1-1 draw sets up what should be a thrilling match next Wednesday at Estadio Olímpico.
Tigres: Aarón Fernández; Jorge Torres Nilo (Ismael Sosa, 72’), Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Luis Advíncula (Lucas Zelarayán, 67’); Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas; Damián Álvarez (Julián Quiñones, 69’), Jürgen Damm; Eduardo Vargas; André-Pierre Gignac
Pumas: Alfredo Saldívar; Alan Mendoza (Nicolás Castillo, 60’), Pablo Jáquez (Darío Verón, 75’), Gerardo Alcoba, Josecarlos van Rankin; Abraham Gonzláez; Jesús Gallardo, Bryan Rabello, Javier Cortés, Pablo Barrera; Matías Britos (Érik Vera, 79’)
Scoring: Tigres - Eduardo Vargas (41’); Pumas - Matías Britos (61’)
Disciplinary: Tigres - Guido Pizarro (Yellow, 27’), Hugo Ayala (Yellow, 90+1’); Pumas - Abraham Gonzláez (Yellow, 38’), Nicolás Castillo (Yellow, 85’)