Here your five conclusions from the Final of the 2017 Liga MX Clausura, where Chivas earned their 12th league title.
While Chivas triumph , Tigres fail
Have we seen the last of this superb Tigres team? Absolutely not, but it is worth noting that every objective Tigres set for themselves this season ended with defeat. Tigres have arguably one of the most talented squads in all of the America and in that regard, expectations are always high. This campaign was the opportunity for Tigres to show Mexico and CONCACAF that they are really the best, but at the end, they lost both the CCL Final and the Liga MX Final. It might sound harsh, but when your business is rooted in making large investments, the profit better be high. At the end, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti and Co. finished the season empty handed and had nothing to show for all the money they wasted.
There’s no Liga MX final without controversy
No doubt, many Tigres fans will remember this final for what happened in the final moments of the game. With Tigres needing just one goal to force extra time, Jair Pereira unleashed a tackle on Ismael Sosa inside the penalty box that was an obvious penalty. Instead of pointing towards the box, however, the referee looked the other way, as Chivas went on to eventually seal the 2-1 win.
After the game, Jair Pereira was asked about the play, and without hesitating, the Chivas defender admitted the penalty was as clear as water. Of course, as the famous Spanish saying goes “el hubiera no existe”, which roughly translates to “you can’t change the past”. Chivas were deserved winners and nothing will change that.
Alan Pulido one of the heroes
It is fair to say that Alan Pulido has repaid his huge transfer fee at Chivas. The 26-year-old Mexican forward had the distinction of scoring in both the first leg and the second leg, including a marvelous volley that set Chivas on their way to the title.
To put it simply, Alan Pulido was huge, not just in the final but all throughout the Liguilla. He delivered when it mattered most, and whether it was Daniel Arreola, Paulo da Silva, Hugo Ayala, or Juninho he subdued every center back he faced in the playoffs. It was his willingness to be unselfish, to press every second of the match, and to create space for his teammates that was one of the key pieces to this league-wining campaign.
Andre-Pierre Gignac misfires in the second leg
Clearly, there is no bigger star in Liga MX than Andre-Pierre Gignac. That said, his second leg of this Liga MX final wasn’t exactly his finest hour. Even in defeat, Tigres’ play wasn’t dismal by any means, and the frenchman had more than one chance to score a goal. Contrast to the first leg where Gignac earned a brace, he just couldn’t hit the target this time around.
But the worse of Gignac came after the game. When you are the biggest star of the league, this assumes certain responsibilities. Not only did Gignac fail to pick up his second-place medal, but he lashed out against a member of media. No player likes to lose a final, but you also have to learn to be gracious in defeat.
Chivas victory symbolic in many ways
For starters, a huge amount of credit has to go to coach Matias Almeyda. From a coaching standpoint, there wasn’t a game this season where Chivas didn’t go all out in search of the win. And not the fake kind of “we always go out to win the game”, Chivas went toe to toe against every team they faced, whether it was Tigres or Queretaro. For attack-minded purists, Chivas league-winning run was highly enjoyable to watch.
Then there is the part where this is a statement to the rest of the league that you can invest in Mexican talent and win championships. Chivas, of course, has a tradition of playing with all Mexicans, and as such, this triumph is seen as beneficial to the overall state of Mexican futbol.
Finally, this was a victory for the anti-establishment in Liga MX. For a league where almost all the decisions come from Mexico City and the two big television channels in the country, owner Jorge Vergara got the best of those high up who wished his team the worst at the beginning of the season (ChivasTV anyone?). In that respect, I guess you can say this was a victory for the good guys, and on this occasion, the good guys wore red and white.