Two LigaMX sides, Tigres and Pumas, met in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Goals in either half canceled each other half at the Estadio Universitario, in what will be a very tense second leg a week from tonight.
Andre-Pierre Gignac scored the opening goal of the night and Matias Bristo scored Pumas’ only goal early in the second half.
Pumas made a mess defending a corner in the eighth minute of the match. And following a couple of bounces off defenders, the ball fell nicely for Andre-Pierre Gignac, but the French striker latched onto the deflection and flung his attempt nowhere near the target.
The French striker, Gignac, was everywhere in the opening stages, showing how important he is to the Monterrey-based outfit. He pressured Pumas’ goalkeeper into making a poor distribution, and while the free kick was poor from Juninho in the end, Gignac won a free kick in a very dangerous area of the pitch 11 minutes into proceedings.
A couple of lapses in the Tigres’ defense led to Pumas’ first big opportunity of the match. Half an hour into the first half, Pablo Barrera skipped by a couple of defenders, got in behind the backline, and rifled a shot inches past the far post. The visitors had been quiet until that point, sitting back and absorbing the pressure from Tigres, but that chance could have changed the entire complexion of the match.
Home side able to find opening goal
Five minutes before the halftime interval, Tigres found the opening goal out of seemingly nowhere. Jürgen Damm found Eduardo Vargas in space. The Chilean international rifled off a superb strike that Alfredo Saldivar had no chance in stopping.
The home side were electric after taking the lead and almost found a second goal late in the half. Pablo Isunza mishit a clearance and it fell straight to Gignac. The 31-year-old striker passed it to Vargas, but Vargas then had his shot saved by the Pumas goalkeeper to keep his club close.
Pumas hit back on the hour mark
On the hour mark, Pumas found the equalizing goal after some intricate interplay. Nicolas Castillo and Bristo played a couple of tight passes around the edge of the eighteen yard box. The former then raced to get onto a ball towards the byline before floating a cross back towards the middle of the area. Bristo made no mistake with his header, as he caught Aaron Fernandez off his line.
These same two sides will meet once more in the CONCACAF Champions League next Wednesday night when Pumas host Tigres at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario in Mexico’s capital.