Goals from Andre-Pierre Gignac and Lucas Zelarayan led Tigres to yet another Liga MX final as they defeated Leon 3-1 on aggregate in the semifinals of the 2016 Liga MX Apertura.
Tigres went into the game with a measure of confidence having beaten La Fiera 1-0 in the first leg, but it was the visitors who took the early initiative of the game.
After just 17 minutes, Luis Montes struck a superb half-volley past Nahuel Guzman to draw Leon leveled on the aggregate score.
Outplayed, Tigres gradually worked their way into the game, and Andre-Pierre Gignac came to the rescue at the stroke of halftime. The Frenchman collected a Jorge Ivan Estrada pass inside the box and picked out the bottom corner of the net to score the go-ahead goal.
But Leon continued to mean business, and after Luis Montes came close to grabbing a brace, Tigres were fortunate not to concede a second when the ref called back what appeared a legitimate goal from the visitors. Replays later showed the ball had crossed line of the field before being headed in.
With 12 minutes remaining, substitute Lucas Zelarayan made sure of the victory when he sent a curling effort past William Yarbrough to kill of any hope of a Leon fightback.
With their place in the final now sealed, Tigres will wait for the winner of Club America and Necaxa’s semifinal clash on Sunday.
Andre-Pierre Gignac’s second goal secured Tigres a 1-0 advatange after defeating Leon at the Nou Camp in the first leg of their 2016 Liga MX Apertura semifinal clash.
Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s side came into the contest full of confidence after beating Pumas UNAM 5-0 in their last game, while Leon’s morale had taken a blow after nearly squandering a 3-0 lead against Xolos de Tijuana.
Leon were unusually subdued for most of the early stages of the game, and after the scoreless first half, they were punished for a slow start. Ismael Sosa crossed for Andre-Pierre Gignac to strike past William Yarbrough to give Tigres the lead.
Seconds later, Leon missed what proved to be their biggest chance of the game. Fernando Navarro swept a cross for Mauro Boselli in the center of the penalty area, but the Argentine mistimed his header to send the chance begging.
The visitors almost doubled their advantage late in the game, but at the final whistle, Tigres were the happier of the two teams ahead of their second leg at the Estadio Universitario, where Leon wil have to score two goals to have any chance of progressing to the final.
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Javier Torrente’s Leon scored twice in the second half to reach the Liga MX semifinals at the expense of a heroic Xolos de Tijuana side.
Leon thought they had done enough to eliminate Xolos de Tijuana at the Nou Camp thanks to a three goal advantage in the first leg.
But Dayro Moreno struck a 13th minute penalty to cut the deficit to two.
Despite the goal, the Estadio Caliente fell silent when Juninho was sent off for the hosts, leaving Tijuana down to ten men and needing two goals gain the upper-hand on the tie.
A ten-man Tijuana then broke forward well and were rewarded for their ambition as Yasser Corona pulled Miguel Herrera’s side within one.
Moments later, Guido Rodriguez completed the incredulous comeback by dragging a shot past William Yarbrough to put things at 3-3.
Tijuana were left with the task of defending the score for the remainder of the match, and the first 35 minutes passed without incident. It was after 80 minutes that substitute Maxi Moralez used his fresh legs to pick out Mauro Boselli, who headed home the go-ahead goal for Leon.
The away goal effectively sealed the tie in Leon’s favor, and Luis Montes added a second moments later for the final 5-3 aggregate scoreline.
Leon produced one of their best performances of the season to take complete control of their Liguilla quarterfinal tie with a superb 3-0 win over Xolos de Tijuana.
The Panzas Verdes made light of their eighth-place regular season finish, and twice came close to grabbing the breakthrough in the early minutes of the match.
It didn’t take long for their dominance to pay dividends, and in the 12th minute, Mauro Boselli headed home an Elias Hernandez cross to give Leon the lead.
Tijuana weren’t even close to weathering the storm before they were down 2-0 on the scoreline. An Elias Hernandez corner was headed down for Fernando Navarro, who made no mistake from close range to double the hosts’ lead.
The first half was as a good Leon have played all season under new coach Javier Torrente, and it was by then no surprise Tijuana were caught out again in the second period. Elias Hernandez laid off a perfect free-kick for the incoming German Cano to turn in for the 3-0.
Xolos de Tijuana responded but never came close to troubling William Yarbrough as Leon earned the first big surprise of the Liguilla.
Both sides will meet again at the Estadio Caliente on Saturday for the return leg where Xolos will need to score three goals to have any chance of progressing to the semifinals.
Gillermo Burdisso netted in the final seconds of the game as Leon defeated Cruz Azul 3-2 to keep their Liguilla hopes alive.
Fernando Navarro’s opener for Leon came in the 27th minute before German Cano doubled the lead just seven minutes later.
Leon looked headed towards an easy night in the office, but in the second half, Adrian Aldrete pulled La Maquina within one with a superb volley in the 66th minute.
A nervy spell followed for the visitors, and the Cementeros took full advantage when Jesus Garcia ran onto a ball on the edge of the box to roll in the equalizer.
Leon inevitably pushed forward for the winner, but only a sensational save from William Yarbrough kept La Fiera’s Liguilla hopes alive.
When the game looked headed for a draw, Cruz Azul’s defense was caught cold from a Fernando Navarro cross, and Guillermo Burdisso was there to head home the winner.
The result temporarily moves Leon to sixth in the league table but will need a number of results to go their way to seal a place in the Liguilla.
Meanwhile, Cruz Azul suffer their fifth straight Liga MX season without qualifying to the Liguilla.