Tampico Madero and Atlante battled to a scoreless tie in the first leg of the Liga de Expansion Final. There were few chances, as both teams were too conservative and failed to live up to expectations. The rematch will happen on Saturday, as a team has to win the game either in regular time on a penalty shootout as Liga de Expansion comes to an end.
The first half started with both team coming out with their best as they hoped to get the best start to the title. The game started very even with neither team gaining control of the possession. Atlante started to be more dangerous as Madero failed to create any danger when they had the ball. Ronaldo Gonzalez got a free header off a corner kick, but it went right into Madero’s goalkeeper Marco Millan’s hands. Twice off of corner kicks Atlante’s goalkeeper Humberto Hernandez had to punch the ball to clear it. Atlante thought they had taken the lead when they found a wide open Ramiro Costa, whose shot went past Millan but he was correctly ruled to be offside and the goal called off. In the last minute, Jonathan Sanchez had the best opportunity when he rose on a corner kick to get a free header but Millan made a great save.
The second half had Atlante subbing out Armando Escobar for Duilio Tejada while Tampico Madero subbed out Joel Perez for Santiago Micolta. Atlante almost made a big mistake when a pass back came close to an own goal, but Hernandez was able to get back. Tampico Madero subbed out Eduardo Perez and Diego Medina for Luis Loroña and Jesus Salas. Madero kept pressuring, but failed to make much danger. Atlante subbed out Ramiro Costa and Juan Dominguez for Joaquin Hernandez and Alfonso Tamay. Tejeda got a shot that forced Millan to make a save. Tampico Madero then subbed out Giovani Hernandez and Edson Garcia for Nahum Gomez and Jared Simental. Loroña got a ball inside of the area, but his left footed shot went wide. Later Loroña got a great header that went over Hernandez but the ball was cleared off the line by a defender in the closest opportunity to score of the match. It turned out to be the last opportunity as the match ended with a disappointing tie.
With very few opportunities, the first leg of the Final didn’t live up to expectations. The Tampico crowd that filled the stadium saw their Jaibos having the best chances but failing to take advantage of the home opportunity. They will have a tough task in Mexico City when they face Atlante. While it’s true that a year ago in the exact situation they were able to get a win against Atlante and get the first Liga de Expansion title because of the COVID 19 emergency, they faced Atlante without a crowd in the stands. This time the stadium is going to be full of Atlante supporters and with a team that had a better record, it’s going to be a big hurdle for Tampico Madero to come through with a repeat of that game. Atlante though will need to improve, because a performance like the one in Tampico will only get a scoreless tie and a penalty shootout that can go for either team. Let’s just hope it’s a better game than the one on Wednesday night.