Tigres qualified to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final after defeating Olimpia of Honduras by a 3-0 score. Tigres completely dominated the match from start to finish and without even shifting to second gear got the win. Tigres’ fortunes were helped by an incredible mistake from an Olimpia midfielder as they finished with the team going down to ten players and conceding a penalty kick. Tigres will now face the winner of the Club America versus LAFC semifinal on Tuesday for a chance at the continental title.
The first half started and it didn’t take but a minute for the first hard foul when Guido Pizarro looked to have been elbowed, but only a foul was called. Tigres looked to have their first opportunity when Andre-Pierre Gignac got a shot in the area but it was blocked, although Gignac claimed a handball. The first big opportunity came when Leonardo Fernandez got off a right footed shot that forced Olimpia’s goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar to make a save. Later off a free kick, Gignac came close but his shot just went wide. Tigres were controlling the possession as expected while Olimpia sat back. The game continued to get testy and Maylor Nuñez got a yellow carded when after a foul to Fernandez, he kicked the ball straight to Fernandez’s head. Later Luis Rodriguez and Justin Arboleda got into a scuffle and both got yellow carded. Tigres continued to control almost all the possession, but Olimpia did a good job of defending and frustrating Tigres, who couldn’t create in the final third. Javier Aquino looked to have injured himself and had to come out, and Raymundo Fulgencio was subbed in for him in the 42nd minute. Olimpia had their first shot on goal in the 44th minute when Edwin Rodriguez got a long range shot that went wide. In the last minute off of a corner kick, Carlos Salcedo got to the ball and hit the post with a volley. The ball fell into Luis Quiñones and he got a shot into the almost empty net but midfielder Deybi Flores stopped the ball with a clear handball, almost like a goalkeeper. The ref gave him a red card and awarded a penalty kick to Tigres. Gignac took it and placed the right footed shot past Menjivar for the 1-0 lead. The halftime whistle blew and Tigres, who dominated the first half, had the lead and were up a player for the second half.
The second half started with a very uphill situation for Olimpia to climb through. Tigres had their first dangerous chance of the half when Quiñones got into the area, but his cross was cleared by Olimpia’s defense. Minutes later, Gignac had a good opportunity but his shot in the area went wide. Olimpia had their best opportunity when after a mistake by Tigres, Jerry Bengtson went on a one-on-one against goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman but his shot was saved. Minutes later a cross by Fulgencio was judged to be handled by Jorge Alvarez (who came in at halftime) and another penalty kick was given. Gignac took the PK and with a right footed shot, scored the 2-0. Tigres immediately subbed out Leonardo Fernandez for Nicolas Lopez. Tigres had another chance when Fulgencio got off a shot that went straight to the hands of Menjivar. Tigres continued to control possession as Olimpia looked finished after the second goal, being down to ten players really hurting the team. After a couple of passes by Tigres, Gignac send a good cross that defender Elvin Oliva headed past Menjivar in an own goal for the 3-0. Luis Rodriguez was subbed out for Diego Reyes as it looked like Tigres was going to ice the game. Off a corner kick, Hugo Ayala rose to head the ball and forced Menjivar to make a great save. Menjivar made another great save when Carlos Salcedo was able head a cross from close range. Olimpia had a good counter attack but Hugo Ayala made a great diving slide to clear the shot. Minutes later the ref blew the whistle and Tigres more than deserved the win they got.
Tigres had another great performance as they easily defeated the Central American side. While Olimpia had a great tournament in eliminating the Seattle Sounders and Montreal Impact, they looked out on their league and their strategy of sitting back and countering went out the window when they not only went down to ten players but gave up a penalty kick that would give the lead to Tigres. It was too much of a hurdle, and the game looked over after the second penalty kick. Tigres didn’t look as good as they did against NYCFC but they looked to take things slowly as to prepare for the final and because the first half had a lot of fouls from the Honduran side. While Tigres looks well and could be the slightly favored team going into the final, they will need to improve on their finishing especially since even when they were dominating, they weren’t creating as many chance to go with all that possession. Still Tigres once again is on a Concacaf Champions League final and they hope this time they are finally able to get the title.