FOX Soccer Exclusive
Long trip worth it for Tigres fans
Neither the distance nor the time stopped the avid supporters of Liga MX's top side from navigating their way south from Monterrey and turning a supposed away ground into what Tigres' official website dubbed UniLastras. A mutable and ultimately significant number of fans – various reports pegged the traveling party between 20,000 and 28,000 fans – just about succeeded in their quest.
The familiar adage about a home away from home applied here as Tigres received the majority of the backing from a† stadium awash in blue and gold. It just took Ricardo Ferretti's side a bit longer than anticipated to sort out their business against an outfit now slipping perilously toward the relegation zone.
Everything started according to plan with the first goal secured after just 12 minutes. A typically neat piece of play through midfield permitted Lucas Lobos to play the ball out to Danilinho on the right flank. Danilinho provided the necessary service into Lobos' run toward the near post. The Argentine midfielder acrobatically corralled the ball on his first touch and launched his side volley past Óscar Pérez with his second. The ground erupted in response to the opener and Lobos clapped to the fans as he completed his celebrations.
Oddly enough, the visitors for a day somehow produced a response. Santiago Tréllez forced Enrique Palos to parry away his effort. Mauro Matos hit the bar with his header from a corner kick. And then Yasser Corona bundled home after a short corner and a flick-on from Matos caused all sorts of chaos inside the Tigres penalty area.
On this particular day, that scoreline – pleasing only to the vastly outnumbered home supporters – simply would not suffice. The two sides traded chances before the interval, but the inevitable outcome finally emerged just before the hour. Luis García redeemed himself after his profligate display against Seattle in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie on Wednesday by displaying his predatory side here. The former Espanyol star settled a corner kick that somehow squirted through the penalty area and then struck a side volley inside the far post to put Tigres 2-1 ahead after 58 minutes.
García's intervention paved the way for a rather more predictable closing period. San Luis midfielder Alan Zamora all but snuffed out his side's chances to muster an equalizer after he saw red for a tackle on U.S. international Jose Francisco Torres after 72 minutes. Tigres probably could have added to its haul after that point, but the killer third never arrived.
Then again, this evening did not need any additional gloss. Tigres protected its perch atop the league by extending its unbeaten run to ten matches and sent its thousands of supporters back home in fine spirits. In this particular case, the lengthy trip proved worthwhile indeed.
Around Liga MX – Jornada 10
San Luis may soon find itself in significant trouble if its poor form continues. Querétaro closed the gap to six points in the relegation table and leaped into Liguilla consideration with a 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana at Estadio Caliente. Wilberto Cosme punished the Xolos for fielding a reserve-laden side by deciding the match with his goal after 33 minutes.
Atlas kept its nine-point cushion over Quéretaro in the relegation tussle and remained within one point of Tigres at the top of the table with a 1-0 victory over Toluca. Rodrigo Millar grabbed all three points by thumping Vicente Matías Vuoso's square ball past Alfredo Talavera with ten minutes to play at La Bombonera.
Third-place Club América settled for a point after an eventful 1-1 draw at Morelia. Héctor Mancilla profited from dogged work by Jefferson Montero to head home at the back post 52 seconds into the match, but Christian Benítez took advantage of a poor offside trap just before the half-hour mark to equalize with his fourth goal in two games. Morelia goalkeeper Federico Vilar received a red card for hauling down Raúl Jiménez minutes later, but Osvaldo Martínez drove his effort off the bar to ensure the sides left with a draw.
The result contributed to the continued muddle in the battle for the Liguilla. Santos Laguna climbed to fourth in the table after goals by Hérculez Gómez and Oribe Peralta inspired a 2-1 victory over Atlante. Pumas sits two points further back in fifth after Martín Bravo snatched a late 1-0 victory at Puebla. C.D. Guadalajara climbed into eighth place after Rafael Márquez Lugo notched his 100th top flight goal in a 1-0 victory over Pachuca at Estadio Omnilife. Jesús Zavala kept Monterrey in the discussion after his double secured a 2-1 home victory over Club León.
In a battle farther down the table, Cruz Azul concede a late goal to stumble to a 1-1 home draw with Jaguares. The unfortunate equalizer – Jesús Corona pushed Fausto Arizala's attempted pullback into the near side of the net under pressure from Luis Gabriel Rey – a minute from time extended La Machina's winless run to six matches.