Tigres, Santos advance to league semis

The semifinals of Mexico’s Apertura championship are set with Tigres to play Queretaro and Santos to face Morelia.

Tigres beat Pachuca 3-0, Queretaro eliminated favorites Chivas with a 0-0 draw, Morelia won 2-1 against Cruz Azul and Santos defeated Jaguares 2-1 in this weekend’s quarterfinals.

The first legs of the semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, with the second legs next weekend.

Defending champions Pumas did not feature in the playoffs after finishing the regular season in ninth position.

Tigres, which won 1-0 at Pachuca in the first leg, took the lead in the 11th minute Sunday when midfielder Manuel Viniegra headed in a corner at the near post.

Argentine Lucas Lobos scored a solo effort in the 26th, taking the ball past two Pachuca players before placing a low shot into the corner of the net.

Damian Alvarez shimmied past a Pachuca defender and the goalkeeper in the 35th to tap the ball into an empty net for Tigres’ third. Hector Herrera was sent off for Tigres in the 61st minute.

Down 2-1 after the first leg, top seeded Chivas needed a victory at home against Queretaro on Saturday to go through to the semifinals.

Chivas controlled the game, but could not score despite having a total of 23 shots, compared to two from Queretaro.

Queretaro goalkeeper Liborio Sanchez, who is on loan from Chivas, made a number of vital saves.

Chivas’ exit was the fourth consecutive Mexican tournament in which the first placed team in the regular season has gone out the playoffs in the quarterfinals.

Like Chivas, Cruz Azul needed a win to get through following its 2-1 defeat in the first leg.

Miguel Sabah slotted the ball into the net for Morelia in the 16th minute, after being put through on goal with a defense-splitting pass from Gerardo Lugo.

Lugo, a former Cruz Azul player, added Morelia’s second four minutes later, driving a left-footed shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.

Alejandro Vela got one back in the 35th for Cruz Azul, which had Mexico international Gerardo Torrado sent off in the 71th.

Colombian Darwin Quintero opened the scoring for Santos, which needed a draw to progress, with a shot that went in off the post from 25 meters (yards) just before halftime.

Fellow Colombian Jackson Martinez equalized for Jaguares, heading in a right wing cross in the 66th.

With Jaguares pressing forward, Santos broke and unmarked Argentine Daniel Laduena and tapped in from an Oribe Peralta pass from the right in the 73rd.