Even a lackluster performance from André-Pierre Gignac didn’t slow down Tigres, as Tuca Ferretti’s men put together a hard fought 3-0 win against Pumas. Tigres will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of tomorrow’s New York Red Bulls - Vancouver Whitecaps match.
The match started slowly, as both teams seemed to be feeling one another out. In the 23rd minute, Damián Álvarez was chasing down a long ball down the left flank when he pulled up off of his run. He walked off of the pitch gingerly and was immediately tended to by the Tigres staff. Luis Quiñones came on for Álvarez shortly after.
In the 30th minute, Tigres drove deep into Pumas’ end. Juninho hit a beautiful cross to Jürgen Damm, who channeled his inner Cristiano Ronaldo and hit this absolute golazo to put Tigres up 1-0.
The first half was a physical affair, with players getting lots of contact on and off of the ball.
Pumas came out of the second half like a house afire. Paco Palencia’s men pressed hard and it almost paid off when Nico Castillo thundered one off of the crossbar in the 50th minute.
In the 57th minute, Juninho had to be stretchered off after going down seemingly untouched. He was shown holding his wrist upright, and was subbed out immediately for Francisco Meza.
Disaster struck for Pumas in the 63rd when a long ball was played up the gut for Luis Quiñones. Josecarlos van Rankin slipped, and Quiñones and Jürgen Damm drove in with one defender and Alfredo Saldívar the only players back. Quiñones drew everyone over, slipped the ball over to Damm, who calmly slotted it home to put Tigres up 2-0.
Pumas continued to attack, getting some very good chances. Javier Cortés had one teed up perfectly by Matías Britos, but his shot went just wide of the bar. Try as they might though, they just couldn’t solve Nahuel Guzmán and the Tigres defense.
The final nail in the coffin came in the 87th minute when Luis Quiñones was sprung, made a cut, and put one past Alfredo Saldívar to give Tigres their 3-0 lead.
Matías Britos had a decent chance in the waning moments, but his header was tipped wide by Nahuel Guzmán, who had a stellar performance against Pumas.
Tigres’ win comes at a heavy price though. Tigres is a deep team for sure, but losing Álvarez and Juninho are serious blows. It’s unsure how long either player will be out, however missing either or both will certainly have an impact on Tigres in both Liga MX and the CONCACAF Champions League.
Pumas: Alfredo Saldívar; Josecarlos van Rankin, Darío Verón, Pablo Jáquez, Alan Mendoza (Matías Britos, 68’); Javier Cortés, Pablo Barrera, Abraham Gonzláez, Bryan Rabello; Jesús Gallardo, Nicolás Castillo
Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán; Jorge Torres Nilo, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Luis Advíncula; Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas; Damián Álvarez (Luis Quiñones, 24’), Eduardo Vargas, Jürgen Damm; André-Pierre Gignac (Lucas Zelarayán, 81’)
Scoring: Pumas - None; Tigres - Jürgen Damm (30’, 63’), Luis Quiñones (87’)
Disciplinary: Pumas - Darío Verón (Yellow, 89’); Tigres - Eduardo Vargas (Yellow, 50’)