Here are your five conclusions from the Final of the 2019 Liga MX Clausura Liguilla.
Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti cements place in Liga MX history
Mourinhoesque or not, the fact of the matter is this is another Liga MX trophy for Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti. If you are keeping count, that is seven league titles for the famous “Tuca”, tying him with Ignacio Trelles as most winning manager in Liga MX history.
Ferretti, no doubt, has his critics, but you can’t argue against winning. With many calling Tigres the team of the decade, years from now you won’t see many flashbacks of the 2010s without seeing “Tuca” Ferretti’s face.
León simply ran out of gas
It just wasn’t meant to be. Naturally, comparisons will be made with other teams that had record-breaking regular seasons and ultimately failed to the lift the title, but in truth, that narrative had long been out of the way. León simply ran out of ideas and stopped doing a lot of the things that they did well through the course of the regular season.
You do feel for León. Perhaps it was a case of just peaking too early, and they did struggle with injuries and key absences near the end of the Liguilla. Moving forward you imagine it will be difficult for them to pick up the pieces and make another run at the title, and that’s what makes these type of defeats so difficult to digest. There is no denying León will be back, but it’s going to take some time for this team to recover 100% mentally.
Nahuel Guzman has another big final
It begs repeating, perhaps no goalkeeper in Mexico has experienced the highs and lows of goalkeeping more than Nahuel Guzman. Guzman is a character of his own, but at least in this Liguilla, it is arguable that he was the most important player of the whole tournament. Guzman was sensational, making key save after key save all the way up to the final.
Where Nahuel Guzman will rank among the best foreign goalkeepers to ever play in Liga MX remains to be seen, but in three out of the last four Tigres Liga MX titles, Nahuel Guzman has been the deciding factor. Like his coach, Guzman will have his critics, but it’s these polarizing characters that make the sport of football a lot more enjoyable.
Guido Pizarro also deserves special praise
In addition to Nahuel Guzman, another one of the key figures for Tigres on their road to the title was none other than Guido Pizarro. After all, if it weren’t for Pizarro’s heroic header in the Semifinals against Monterrey, Tigres wouldn’t even have been in the final.
Pizarro’s Busquets-like ability to beat the pressing and come out playing from the back, combined with his ability cut passing lanes, was at full display against La Fiera. Like his namesake, Club América’s Guido Rodriguez, you can make the argument that he often doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but is always there to make a difference when needed.
You could also say no other player, apart from Andre-Pierre Gignac, has been more influential than Pizarro in this current Tigres dynasty, and after a tame spell at Sevilla, where he just spent one full season, it was only fitting he was the one in charge of lifting the trophy first.
There will be a battle to dethrone the teams from Nuevo León
And so, once again the center of the Mexican football universe is in Nuevo León, with Rayados now being the current CONCACAF Champions League winners and Tigres the current Liga MX winners. Odds are Rayados and Tigres will continue to be contenders next season, but you get the feeling that teams like Club América and Pachuca are not far off. For now, the two best teams in Mexico reside in Nuevo León, and the rest the teams of the league will have a whole Summer to think about how they can get better.