A sold out StubHub Center in Carson, CA welcomed Liga MX’s 2017 Clausura Champions Chivas as they had an opportunity to collect its third consecutive trophy after winning the Copa MX and the domestic league. In the way was Tigres, their Liga MX Final foes who boasted their high-powered attack.
Guadalajara was missing a number of key players from last season’s Championship run. Alan Pulido and Isaac ‘El Conejo’ Brizuela were out due to injury while Angel Sepulveda, Alejandro Mayorga, Jair Pereira, Hedgardo Marin, Orbelin Pineda, and Rodolfo Pizarro are with Mexico at the Gold Cup. Tigres was missing Jesus Dueñas who is also with El Tri.
Despite the depleted roster Matias Almeyda’s team put up a valiant effort in the match going toe-to-toe with Tigres creating an exciting back-and-forth match. Jurgen Damm was a headache for El Rebaño Sagrado all game with his dangerous runs on the right flank. Experienced internationals Andre-Pierre Gignac and Eduardo Vargas linked up perfectly to create seven first-half shots for Los Felinos.
Chivas’ night was made more difficult as Jesus “El Gallito” Vazquez and Oswaldo Alanis were subbed off with injuries midway through the game. The game changed considerably after for Chivas as two more key figures went down leaving the club vulnerable to the high-potent Tigres offense.
Tigres quickly pounced on Chivas in the second half by inserting a more attack minded Damian Alvarez in the 53rd minute for Ismael Sosa. From then on UANL had three bonafide wingers in the lineup with Javier Aquino and Damm alongside Alvarez wreaking havoc in the game opening space for Gignac and Vargas to operate.
Chivas’ defense held on as long as it could as Rodolfo Cota made a number of incredible saves to keep his team in it. But in the 63rd minute, Vargas linked up well with Gignac for the quick give-and-go that set up the Chile international for a brilliant left-footed shot that ultimately gave Tigres the 1-0 win.
At the end of the match, Tigres had 17 total shots with 13 of them on goal showcasing their dangerous attacking options. A deserving win for the Tigers as they did not remove the foot off the gas pedal in the game. They actually squandered many clear scoring chances but in the end, they are the Campeon de Campeones.
With the Liga MX season kicking off on Friday, July 21 Tigres should enter the season as the favorites with such an impressive attack anchored by Gignac and Vargas. They have been in three of the last four title matches and kept the same squad intact.
Chivas on the other hand if healthy could be strong contenders again but with goalscorer Pulido out for a considerable amount of time and depending on the severity of Vazquez and Alanis’ injuries Chivas could be in for a long season.
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