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Tigres through to inaugural Leagues Cup Final after beating Club América on penalties

Club America v Tigres UANL: Semifinal - 2019 Leagues Cup Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Bruno Valdez’s last-gasp own-goal helped Tigres overcome a 2-1 deficit to win on penalties and earn a place in the Final of the 2019 Leagues Cup.

Despite playing in front of a sold out crowd at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, Tigres coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti opted to leave star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac on the bench, while América coach Miguel Herrera chose not to give Guillermo Ochoa his long-awaited debut after hinting at a possible start for the returning Mexico National Team goalkeeper.

Even without Gignac up front, it didn’t take Tigres long to open the scoring when Paul Aguilar had the misfortune of putting the ball into his own net in the 14th minute.

Tigres’s lead did not last the whole half, though, as a penalty was called in the 38th minute for a shove on Roger Martinez. Andres Ibarguen stepped up and blasted his shot past Nahuel Guzman to put the score at 1-1.

In the second half, the chances kept coming from both sides, but it was Los Felinos who came closest to taking the lead when Enner Valencia failed to properly direct his shot on target from a brilliant Luis Quiñones cross.

Moments later, Valencia once again should have done better from close range after Jimenez saved a short-range header from the Ecuadorian striker.

In the 83rd minute, Club América broke through when Ibarguen found space at the edge of the box before having his shot deflected into the back of the net.

With the momentum clearly in Las Águilas’ side, América gave Tigres a glimmer of hope when Roger Martinez was sent off with just seconds to go in the game.

And a glimmer of hope was all Tigres needed when in one of the last plays of the game, Bruno Valdez headed a throw-in into his own net to send the game into penalties.

Once in the penalty shootout, Tigres were perfect, while Leo Lopez had Las Águilas’ crucial fourth penalty saved by Nahuel Guzman to send the current Liga MX champs through to the final of the 2019 Leagues Cup.