Image via ligamx.net
Tigres and Club America reached the Liga MX Final with goalless draws in their respective return-legs.
Having lost 3-0 in the first-leg, Monterrey had the task to score 4 goals in their return leg against Club America to qualify to the Liga MX final, but their task would prove to be unattainable. Club America set-up a historic first Liga MX final versus Tigres, after settling for a 0-0 draw.
Much of the talk before the game had to do with the questioned continuity of America manager, Antonio Mohamed, and the alleged disciplinary issues Paul Aguilar had ignited earlier in the week.On the field, however, it was a balanced performance by Club America.
In the 8th minute, America almost suffered an early scare when Osmar Mares cleared a Monterrey chance off the line. The play epitomized Monterrey’s performance in the semifinals, and they never looked likely to score again.
Things almost went from bad to worse for Monterrey when, in the 32nd minute, America would score from a free-kick, but the referee would wrongly disallow it.
Monterrey’s star player, Dorlan Pabon, was perfectly neutralized over two legs, and not for a second did Monterrey believe they could get back into this game. It was a truly woeful performance by the “Regiomontanos” in what could have been Humberto Suazo’s last game as a Monterrey player. Suazo is one of the most celebrated players in Monterrey’s history, and it is rumored that his time in Monterrey has arrived to a conclusion.
At the end of the game, Club America sealed their place in the Liga MX final in the calmest of manners. America fans know that a league title next Sunday would place America as the most winning team in Mexican soccer history.
In the earlier semifinal game, Tigres only needed a scoreless draw against Toluca to qualify to the Final, and that is exactly what they obtained. The previous game had ended in a 0-0 draw, and a repeat of the same scoreline would benefit Tigres due to their better positioning in the regular-season table.
Before the game, the Tigres players and fans payed homage to their injured captain, Juninho, who is set to face a lengthy absence from the soccer fields. On the other hand, the ex-Tigres player, Lucas Lobos, was received by boos an jeers by the Tigres faithful.
The first half was marred by heavy tackles from the Toluca side, and the little they produced on the attack was easily swatted off by the Tigres goalkeeper, Nahuel Guzman. The Argentina National Team goalkeeper has been instrumental in Tigres’ Liguilla run.
Likewise, it was a controlled performance by the Tigres midfield, and they played to Toluca’s desperation.
In injury time, Richard Ortiz would pick up a second yellow to leave Toluca with 10 men. A minute later, Jeronimo Amione would receive a straight red for a terrible tackle on a Tigres player.
Toluca never quite unlocked Tigres’ possession of the midfield, and at the final whistle, the Tigres fans exploded in celebration. It was Jose Cardozo’s second elimination as a manager in a semifinal against Tigres.
The Liga MX final is set to be played on Thursday and Sunday; with the first leg being in Monterrey, and the second leg being in Mexico City.