Tapatío FC, Chivas’s Liga de Expansión team, have won the Clausura 2023 title. The team needed extra time to get the 2-2 tie against Morelia that gave them the title after their 2-1 victory in the first leg away in Morelia. The team coached by Gerardo Espinoza wins their first league title and will now play the Liga de Expansión Campeon de Campeones title match against Apertura 2022 winners Atlante FC.
Fifteen minutes into the match, Daniel Parra looked to be injured and had to be taken out. Morelia had to sub him out and brought in Diego Garcia. Off a corner, Victor Milke rose to get a header that forced Tapatio’s goalkeeper, Eduardo Garcia, to make a good save. At the 30 minute mark, a number of lights at Estadio Akron seemed to have gone out, but surprisingly the ref didn’t stop the match. After a good play from Omar Islas, he got off a great cross that Luis Perez would head past Garcia from close range to score and give Morelia the 1-0 lead. The goal tied the aggregate. Off a corner kick, Garcia had a collision with a teammate and suffered a laceration to his mouth. Off a free kick, the cross turned into a shot that forced Morelia’s goalkeeper, Sergio Ramirez, to make a good save. After a cross into the area, Juan Brigido had a chance to score after lobbing the ball over Ramirez, but it would go wide of the goal. It was the last chance as Morelia took the lead into halftime.
The second half kicked off with both teams hoping to improve on their first half performance. Off a free kick, a cross into the area was brilliantly headed by Christopher Engelhart and into the net for the goal that gave Tapatio the 1-1 tie. Then, off a corner kick, Engelhart would get off a header that forced Ramirez to make another good save. After a good pass in the area, Luis Perez would get the ball and fire a shot past Garcia for his second goal and gave Morelia the 2-1 lead. The last goal seemed to hurt Tapatio, who lost control of the possession of the match as Morelia went for the win. After a clash of heads, Morelia had to take out injured Javier Ibarra for Jassiel Ruiz. There was a possible PK call after a Tapatío player was brought down, but nothing was called. A bad clearance fell to Raul Torres, but his shot went well wide. Tapatio answered with a Jose Gonzalez header in the area that went wide. It was the last chance and the game went into extra time.
From way outside the area, Miguel Gomez got off a right-footed shot that hit the post. Because of an injury, Cristopher Engelhart would have to be subbed out for Benjamin Sanchez. Off a corner kick, Jose Gonzalez would rise up and get off a header that would go past Ramirez for the goal that gave Tapatio the 2-2 tie and the lead on aggregate. Then, off a counter attack, Garcia got off a right-footed shot that would hit the post for the second time in the extra period for Tapatío.
The second extra time half started with Morelia subbing out Diego Garcia for Rolando Gonzalez. A bicycle kick in the area was easily saved by Ramirez. Morelia battled hard for the goal that could send the game to penalties as Tapatío held on for dear life. A ball in the area wasn’t cleared well and fell to Jose Flores, who got past Eduardo Garcia, but his shot went wide instead of into the empty net in a bad miss. Tapatío came back and after a pass in the area, Organista’s shot was blocked by Ramirez. Morelia kept battling but couldn’t create another chance with the game ending at that.
Tapatío capped off a great season with the Liga de Expansión title. They finished 2nd place overall and defeated a tough Tlaxcala in the quarterfinals, current champions Atlante in the semis, and the surprising Morelia in the final. Morelia battled for all 120 minutes, but the away win was too tough a hurdle to climb although they did enough to send the game to extra time. Still, Tapatío were the worthy winners and in front of their fans, clinched their first title and hope that the win is a boost for the players’ future as they hope to make the jump to the Liga MX team, Chivas.