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Match recap: Club América Femenil defeats Tigres Femenil in penalties

Club América wins their first ever Liga MX Femenil trophy, downing Tigres 3-3 (1-3 penalties)

Tigres UANL v Pumas UNAM - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

It was everything a fan of soccer could want.

In front of a sold-out crowd, the Liga MX Femenil Final was decided in penalties, with Club América Femenil winning their first trophy by defeating Tigres UANL Femenil 3-3 (1-3 pen.) The game got off to a brisk start. Both teams moved the ball well, looking to gain the early advantage. América had the first good chance of the evening just three minutes in when Lucero Cuevas was hauled down from behind by Greta Espinoza. Espinoza saw a yellow card, however Las Águilas couldn’t capitalize as the free kick went over the bar.

Tigres would get a free kick of their own when 3 committed a hard foul on Karen Luna about 25 yards out on the left hand side of the attack. Goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago was able to go up and grab the free kick as it cured in toward the far post.

América was largely organized on defense, holding their shape and forcing Tigres to make a play. To their credit, Tigres would read América well when they were on defense. Both teams were largely patient, not wanting to give up a chance on the counterattack.

In the 24th minute, América was able to mount some offensive pressure. Betzy Cuevas would be sprung in on goal, forcing Alejandra Gutíerrez to make a sprawilng save on her shot. Less than a minute later, Lucero Cuevas was able to shake her defender for a brief moment and unleashed a shot that Gutíerrez was able to stop.

In the 43rd minute Tigres had a real opportunity as Nayeli Rangel got her head on a corner kick, however it would glance just wide of the net.In the minute of stoppage time, América would break the deadlock when Daniela Espinosa got a glancing header on a corner kick. The ball fell to the feet of Diana González, who hit it true and past Gutiérrez to give the visitors the lead.

Tigres would come out swinging in the second half. In the 49th minute, Katty Martínez would get on the end of a ball that was pogoing through the box, however her shot would go just over the bar.

To their credit, América’s defense was compact and gave up nothing. Tigres spent a good couple of minutes cycling the ball in the corner - almost like you’d see in hockey. But the outlet pass never materialized for them to get a look at goal, and América was able to eventually clear the ball.

Tigres was relentless in their pressure however, and it would pay off in the 69th minute. Tigres clattered a shot off of the cross bar, it came out, and a Tigres player was fouled in the box. Liliana Mercado shot right, and Cecilio Santiago dove to Mercado’s left and the teams would be tied.

Santiago would bail her team out in the 80th minute on a close range shot by Belén Cruz. Tigres would continue pressing to get the winning goal during regulation time, however América stood resolute in the face of the onslaught and forced the game into penalties.

Tigres would miss their first two, while América only missed their second. In the fourth round, Belén Cruz needed to hit her shot to keep Tigres alive but Ceci Santiago came up big once again, and it would be América being engraved onto the trophy.

Tigres Femenil: Alejandra Gutíerrez; Selene Cortés, Greta Espinoza, Nancy Antonio, Karen Luna (Natalia Villarreal - 38’); Liliana Mercado, Nayeli Rangel; Jacqueline Ovalle, Belén Cruz, Carolina Jaramillo; Katty Martínez (Alison González - 77’)

América Femenil: Cecilia Santiago; Jana Gutiérrez, Ana Lozada, Marylin Díaz, Mónica Rodríguez; Zulma Hernández, Diana González (Marcela Valera - 81’); Daniela Espinosa (Vannya García - 90+1’), Betzy Cuevas (Citlali Hernández - 77’), Esmeralda Verdugo; Lucero Cuevas

Scoring: Tigres Femenil - None; América Femenil - None

Disciplinary: Tigres Femenil - Espinoza (Yellow - 3’), Nancy Antonio (Yellow - 53’); América Femenil - Jana Gutiérrez (Yellow - 27’), Daniela Espinosa (Yellow - 35’), Marcela Valera (Yellow - 83’)