Tigres becomes 1st CONCACAF team in Club World Cup final
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Mexico's Tigres beat Palmeiras 1-0 in the Club World Cup semifinals on Sunday to become the first CONCACAF team to reach the final of the tournament.
No other winner of the CONCACAF Champions League, which includes Central and North American teams, has previously gone that far.
André-Pierre Gignac scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 54th minute.
Tigres' opponent will be known on Monday, when European champion Bayern Munich faces African champion Al Ahly of Egypt in the other semifinal. Bayern won the Club World Cup in 2013.
“We came to make history and we are proud to be in the final because this was a complicated match," said 35-year-old Frenchman Gignac. “I am not celebrating the second place, I am celebrating our going to the final, let's see against who.”
Tigres had the best opportunities in the match in Al Rayyan against Brazil's Palmeiras, which won its second Copa Libertadores title on Jan. 30 against Santos.
Tigres has been the dominant force in Mexico in the last decade, with five titles, but was still struggling to get international recognition.
Tigres' win was also celebrated by fans of Palmeiras' local rivals in Sao Paulo, which erupted with fireworks.
“We did not play our best match,” Palmeiras and Brazil goalkeeper Weverton said. He dismissed the idea that his team was over-confident.
Also Sunday, Qatari team Al Duhail beat South Korea’s Ulsan 3-1 to finish fifth.
Tigres had advanced to the last four after beating Ulsan with Gignac scoring twice, including a penalty, against the Asian champion.
The final is on Thursday.
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