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2019 Concacaf Champions League match recap: Tigres UANL 3, Santos Laguna 0

An Enner Valencia brace gives Tigres a commanding lead after the first leg of the CCL semifinals.

Tigres UANL v Santos Laguna - CONCACAF Champions League 2019 Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

It was never going to be easy for Santos. Not many who come to El Volcán leave with a result they’re happy with and Los Guerreros are no exception, going down 3-0 to Tigres in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League Semifinal.

Tigres had the better of possession early on, relying on long sweeping passes both up and down the field as well as laterally to stretch the Santos defense and create space. It would work when in the eighth minute Julián Quiñones would get played in on a long ball from the back. Goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco would make the initial save, but Eduardo Vargas was there to clean up the rebound. The Santos players were furious as the replay showed Quiñones may have been offside when the ball was played in, however the goal stood.

Little by little though Santos would start to get some momentum going in their favor. In the 15th minute, Diego Valdes would hit a shot from distance that went just outside of the post. In the next minute, Valdes would try from a closer distance and hit it on frame, but Nahuel Guzmán was easily able to smother the ball. Julio Furch would hit a blast from distance in the 23rd that Guzmán would make a stop on. In the 25th, Guzmán would come up huge again, making a diving stop on a rocket from Ayrton Preciado, who returned from injury.

In the 27th though, TIgres would come down the field and it would be Enner Valencia with the header past Jona Orozco to double the lead for the hosts.

In the 37th, Valencia would get another off of a great cross in from Julián Quiñones. His header beat Orozco and gave the hosts a commanding three goal lead.

After this, Santos was largely back on their heels until the half. The substitution of Ulíses Rivas for Javier Correa seemed to give Santos a spark going forward, allowing them to get pressure on Tigres. Jona Orozco would also step up, making a couple of diving stops to keep the lead from increasing further. In the 76th, Brian Lozano would make a great run down the left and hit a cross to Furch, who laid it off to Marlos Moreno. Moreno’s shot was well saved by Nahuel. A minute later at the other end it was Hugo Nervo making a fantastic diving slide to deny Javier Aquino.

In the 81st, Deinner Quiñones would hit a shot from distance that Nahuel would be forced to tip wide of the net. In the 87th, Javier Correa would hit one from distance that Guzmán had to push out for a corner. Try as they might, Santos wasn’t able to get an away goal and will have an enormous hill to climb when the teams meet next Wednesday in Torreón.

Tigres will host Pumas on Saturday in Liga MX play, while Santos will host Pachuca on Sunday.

Tigres UANL: Nahuel Guzmán; Jesús Dueñas, Carlos Salcedo, Hugo Ayala, Luis Rodríguez; Rafael de Souza, Guido Pizarro; Luis Quiñones (Javier Aquino, 70’), Eduardo Vargas, Julián Quiñones; Enner Valencia

Santos Laguna: Jonathan Orozco; Jesús Angulo, Matheus Doría, Hugo Nervo, José Abella; Ulíses Rivas (Javier Correa, 46’), José Juan Vázquez, Diego Valdes, Marlos Moreno (Deinner Quiñones, 79’); Ayrton Preciado (Brian Lozano, 75’), Julio Furch

Scoring: Tigres UANL - Eduardo Vargas (8’), Enner Valencia (28’, 37’); Santos Laguna - None

Disciplinary: Tigres UANL - Guido Pizarro (Yellow - 50’); Santos Laguna - Javier Correa (Yellow - 24’)