Club America became the most winning team in Mexican soccer league history with a resounding 3-1 victory over Tigres in the Liga MX Final. The win puts Club America at 12 league titles and at the pinnacle of Mexican soccer.
The stage was set in a sold out Estadio Azteca to witness the finale of the 2014 Apertura season. Having lost 1-0 in the first leg, Club America needed just a goal to force extra-time and two goals to win the title.
And it was America who almost struck first. In the 8th minute, Michael Arroyo would weave past defenders and curl a shot from distance, but the ball would go just wide of Nahuel Guzman’s goal.
As expected, America came out on the offensive and were sole possessors of the ball in the first half, but a moment of deja vu almost put America even further behind. In the 36th minute, Damian Alvarez easily dribbled past America’s right-back and put in a teasing cross into the box. For a moment it looked like a near copy of the goal Tigres scored in the first leg, but Guerron’s diving header attempt went short.
When things started to look up for Tigres on the offensive, a bad giveaway in the midfield proved costly for the Monterrey side. With 10 minutes to go in the first half, Damian Alvarez would gift Arroyo the ball in the midfield, and Arroyo would smash the ball into Nahuel Guzman’s near post to send the Estadio Azteca into uncontrolled excitement. The score was 1-1 on aggregate.
At the start of the second half, Tigres manager, Ricardo Ferretti, opted to introduce another striker into the game. It was Club America, however, who remained on the offensive, and Oribe Peralta came close in the 55th minute with a header from a free-kick. It was a warning of things to come.
Indeed, five minutes later Pablo Aguilar would soar above his defender on a cross from a free-kick to put America up 2-1 on aggregate. It was the set-pieces that characterized this team through the Liguilla, and it was a set-piece that was giving America the championship.
It would all go downhill for Tigres from here. Burbano only 30 seconds into his introduction to the game would obtain a red card for a last-man offense. Three minutes later, Damian Alvarez would receive another red card for what looked like an attempt to punch an opponent. Lastly, the goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman would get his red card for an extended leg on a dead play. Tigres went down to 8 men. It was a truly woeful response by the away side, and they were lucky that they didn’t lose more players.
In the 78th minute, Peralta would receive the ball from Valenzuela outside the box and shoot to the lower corner of the net to put the ball out of reach of the goalkeeper and the game out of reach of Tigres. Mendoza received a red card for America at the end of the goal, but it would matter little. It was a goal worthy of a championship. The Estadio Azteca could start celebrating.
At the final whistle, Club America had ended Tigres’ undefeated run that started on August 30th, and at the same time, proclaimed themselves Liga MX Champions.