There’s no arguing that Tigres’ season came to an abrupt and disappointing end on Sunday night following their 3-2 aggregate elimination vs. 4th seeded Cruz Azul. As is every season, Tuca Ferretti’s team were expected to win their 8th league title in franchise history, and nothing less than that. While many were disheartened at Tigres’ game plan during the second leg, they weren’t exempt from having opportunities to take an earlier lead.
After the first half hour of the match, Dueñas took a ball on the edge of Cruz Azul’s penalty box and fired a near perfect crossed shot that went straight to the crossbar. Had that ball landed a couple inches lower, it would’ve ricocheted into the net. Then, seven minutes into the second half, a series of deflections ended with the ball at Luis Quiñones’ feet inside the penalty box, which he fired on goal with the inside part of his left foot, only to see Corona react accordingly. Truth be told, he could’ve put a lot more behind that shot, and had he, Corona wouldn’t have had time to react in time. Not to mention, the corner kick following Corona’s save, which resulted in a cross sent in by Carioca which Gignac headed straight to the post, only to see the ball bounce wide to a goal kick.
Whether it be Tigres imposing their will or Cruz Azul conceding, Ferretti’s squad had the initiative the entire match, dominating ball possession and scoring opportunities. They did what they had to do in this match; held their opponents scoreless throughout the match, and created enough opportunities to complete the comeback. Whether the players were efficient enough is another story, but Cruz Azul aren’t an easy team to gloss over, and Tigres held them hostages during both games, despite Cruz Azul scoring three in the first leg, which as explained last week, were extremely circumstancial goals.
So, despite their limited opportunities and game control throughout the 180 minutes of this series, Cruz Azul found a way to overcome the San Nicolás de los Garza-based team and move on to the Semi-Finals where they will see eye-to-eye with a surprising Pumas squad who have handled their business accordingly. The first leg is set for Thursday night at 10 ET (9 CT) in the Estadio Azteca.
Tigres, on the other hand, are in the middle of a break afforded to the players, which will end on Friday, when they are expected back at training grounds as they prepare to continue their search for a first international cup in franchise history, when they continue their CONCACAF CL run by facing New York City FC on December 15th, over whom they hold a 1-0 aggregate lead which they got back in March.