Tigres UANL claimed its first championship since the 2011 Apertura with a 3-0 victory over Ascenso MX side Alebrijes de Oaxaca in the Copa MX final on Wednesday night.
Juninho converted from the spot nine minutes before halftime to open the scoring in this tense final at a sold-out Estadio Universitario. Alan Pulido poked home to double the advantage on 67 minutes. Lucas Lobos curled home a free kick seven minutes from time to secure Tigres’ third triumph in this tournament.
The final result reflected the gulf between a Tigres side rampant in this competition (32 goals scored, two goals conceded in nine matches) and an Alebrijes outfit currently in possession of the final playoff place in the Ascenso MX table. Alebrijes traveled to Nuevo Leon as significant underdogs, but Tigres manager Tuca Ferretti showed the proper respect to a side that had already ousted Querétaro and Pachuca in this competition by naming a strong XI.
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It took a while for Tigres’ seriousness to translate in the run of play. The visitors started well and nearly took a shock lead when Dany Santoya forced Sergio Garcia to save at his near post. Alebrijes’ early flourish faded quickly without inspiring Tigres to the sort of creativity required to break the deadlock.
Tigres eventually wrested control of the game through an imprudent decision in the buildup to a corner kick. Braulio Godínez tugged on Juninho’s shirt to halt his run hastily and prompt the referee to point to the spot. Juninho subsequently slotted his penalty into the lower left corner to give Tigres the lead after 36 minutes.
Alebrijes reacted well enough to conceding, but Tigres eventually assumed control of the proceedings after the interval. The home side’s dominion over the encounter eventually yielded a second to ease any lingering nerves. Sergio Arias failed to hold an angled drive from his right and left an enticing rebound at the back post. Pulido popped up at the right time to poke home the second.
Second-half substitute Lobos capped Tigres’ first Copa MX triumph since 1996 with a sumptuous free kick seven minutes from time. The resulting celebration offered a deserved reward for the energy expended in the competition and the quality mustered over the nine matches in order to lift the tricolored cup.