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Tigres flex muscles in Juárez, win 5th straight

The victory momentarily evens Tigres up with Pachuca as co-league leaders.

FC Juarez v Tigres UANL - Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX Photo by Alejandro Rodriguez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Tigres faced ‘Tuca’ Ferretti for the second time since his exit from the Monterrey-based club, and proved more than superior yet again. After pouncing on them in last season’s regular season finale by a 3-0 final, things were going just about the same, until their defense began relaxing a little too much. Had the game been closer, I have no doubt those plays would’ve gotten cleaned up.

It took no longer than 15 minutes for Herrera’s squad to open the scoring, when Aquino sent a cross into Juárez’s box that was horribly misjudged by a defender and landed straight into Thauvin’s boots who simply pushed it in with his left foot. Just a couple minutes later, Thauvin himself sent a cross in from the right side that Juárez’s defender Arribas mistimed again and found a diving Gignac who headed the ball in past a diving Hugo González. After Nico López failed to increase the vistors’ lead in the 41st minute with a wide open shot inside the box that González got his leg to, López himself got a through ball to which the keeper horribly committed, leaving his goal uncovered. Upon realizing that, ‘Diente’ sent the cross in to a wide open Gignac who again managed to score yet another extraordinary bicycle kick goal this season for the 0-3 in favor of Tigres before the half.

And that was all they needed. The second half was mostly hard-fought with the clearer chances still coming for Tigres. The score was 1-3 when Juárez scored their second in the 90th + 2 minute, so there was never truly any danger of them evening the score in this one. Quite a statement from Tigres if you ask me. After drawing with Santos and falling in their home opener to Puebla, Tigres have now won 5 consecutive matches. The Gignac factor also remains, as he has now scored in every single one of his clubs victories thus far. In relation to the league table, Tigres now stand tied 1st overall with Pachuca (16 points apiece) momentarily, as Puebla and Cruz Azul have yet to play their Round 7 respective matches.

More importantly however, is the rhythm they’ve found under Herrera. After struggling to find an identity last season with many ups and downs, it finally seems this club has molded and figured out how it can be successful under their head coach. Heavily involving Gignac and Nico López for starters, as many of their most dangerous plays go through one of them at least, if not both (Ferretti didn’t even play López regularly). Also, giving Aquino the liberty to make runs freely and join the others up front, hence creating more offensive options on the attack (Ferretti had his defensive backs tied to the back). True, defense hasn’t been as solid as we were used to under Ferretti, but the attacking front has truly flourished this season, as they’ve uncovered their true offensive potential with 15 goals in 7 matches, just one below Pachuca’s league leading 16 scores. Not to mention, Gignac has reminded everyone he remains the best striker in Liga MX.

Giving Herrera time has made a difference from last season to now, and with pieces like Juan Pablo Vigón and Florian Thauvin complementing this offense the way they have, Tigres have truly established themselves as an offensive juggernaut. They now enter a crucial part of their season where they will no doubt be put to the test, as they play hosts to Cruz Azul next weekend, followed by two consecutive road matches at Pachuca and at León, to finally come back home and host Rayados in the Clásico Regio. Interesting set of games that will prove just how title-ready this club currently is.