Tigres and Chivas left it all for Sunday as they battled to a tough and lackluster scoreless tie in the 1st leg of the Clausura 2023 Final. Chivas seemed to have accomplished their job with the result that now has them going back home with a win being enough, as a tie would force the match to extra time (as there are no tiebreakers in the final) and a winner must be crowned on Sunday. Tigres continued to struggle but will look to battle a Chivas team that might have some injurires creeping into the team.
The match started with Chivas going back to their starting 11 without a center forward despite the success having one brought them in the last match. Meanwhile, Tigres had the return of Diego Lainez and Luis Quiñones to their starting 11. Alexis Vega got a volley minutes into the match but it was easily saved by Tigres’ Nahuel Guzman. A cross by Sebastian Cordova almost turned dangerous but Chivas’ goalkeeper, Miguel Jimenez cleared it with a punch. A cross into the area was deflected by Antonio Briseño onto the post. The rebound fell to Andre Pierre Gignac, but he had a terrible left-footed shot that went wide, missing a great chance. It was a very even match with neither team dominating possession. A good counter by Tigres was wasted when Gignac’s cross went way wide. A bad mistake by Fernando Gorriaran had him making a pass to Isaac Brizuela, who got into the area, but his left-footed shot went high, wasting an incredible chance off a mistake by Tigres. The halftime whistle blew just at the time the game was picking up.
The second half started with a cross into the area that was cleared just before Gignac could get a close range header. Tigres subbed out Javier Aquino and Fernando Gorriaran for Juan Pablo Vigon and Jesus Garza. Chivas subbed out Isaac Brizuela and an injured Alexis Vega for Pavel Perez and Ronaldo Cisneros. After a ball got into the area and was cleared off Quiñones into the path of Vigon, the latter volleyed it well wide. Tigres asked for a PK on Quiñones, but nothing was given. After a clearance, Rafael Carioca would volley it from outside the area and come real close to scoring, but it went just wide. The last minutes had Chivas in a defensive shell while Tigres dominated possession and tried to send a cross into the area. In the end, it paid off for Chivas as they got the draw in Monterrey.
Fans suffered on Thursday night as both teams battled hard, but produced almost no opportunities. Both Tigres and Chivas goalkeepers barely made saves and the match looked headed for a scoreless tie since the start. Now, the final will have to be decided on Sunday, where Chivas appear to be slightly favored. Going home with an expected raucous crowd, things are looking good for Chivas, although they might be hampered depending on if Vega’s injury is serious. Vega is key to Chivas’ offense even when he hasn’t been at his best. On the other hand, Tigres might have finally recognized that Gignac’s level of play is a hindrance on the offense, as he was subbed out earlier than past games. Still, even without him, Tigres failed to create any danger and the match fizzled out. There is no tomorrow for either team after Sunday, so they might go on the offensive from minute one or at least should be more offensive, hopefully elevating the level of play in the match and giving an exciting performance that was lacking on Thursday night.