Last Updated on May 29, 2023 12:43 pm by Erwin Noguera
Tigres is the new Mexican soccer champion! The Monterrey team came back from 2-0 down to beat Chivas 2-3 in extra time and win their eighth league title.
It was a spectacular game, that sealed dramatically one of the best Liguillas of the last years. Comebacks were coming and going in this edition, and the Final was no exception. In the same way, the underdogs managed, then again, to come out victorious.
Liguilla Finals Roundup: Chivas 2-3 Tigres
Sunday, May 28th – 9:35 pm ET at the Akron Stadium
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It was a great tournament full of ups and downs for the Felines, who started very well but later dropped their level to the point that they used 3 different coaches throughout the campaign. Although, Diego Cocca left as he was taken to lead the Mexican National Team.
Tigres, who finished seventh in the general table, defeated Puebla (1-0), Toluca (5-4), and Rayados (2-1) in the finals, and we should also point out that two of their rivals had a sporting advantage in case of a tie.
For its part, Chivas had finished third in the general table, so it did not play in the first round of the playoffs. In the quarterfinals they beat Atlas 1-0 in the Clásico Tapatío and then surprised in the semifinals by eliminating América, having lost 0-1 in the first leg and winning 1-3 in the second one.
Already in what was the grand final, in the first leg in Monterrey, Tigres tried everywhere, while Chivas dedicated themselves to defending. In the end, it was 0-0 and the definition moved to Guadalajara.
Already this Sunday at the Akron stadium, the Rebaño hit early with “Piojo” Alvarado, who at 11 minutes made a good individual play and finished with a cross-shot for the 1-0.
As if that were not enough after 20 minutes a corner kick from Roberto Alvarado found Víctor Guzmán completely alone in the center of the area, and the captain did not hesitate to finish off hard and send the ball into the back of the net.
Chivas decided to defend the result. However, already in the second half, Tigres got the discount with a penalty by Andre-Pierre Gignac at minute 65 that was almost saved by goalkeeper Miguel Jiménez.
6 minutes later, Javier Aquino’s cross was connected by Sebastián Córdova’s header to declare the tie 2-2 and take the game to extra time.
Already in the second half of extra time, in the only corner kick that there was in these final 30 minutes, captain Guido Pizarro appeared, after several rebounds, to head a loose ball and complete the heroic comeback. Afterward, it was just waiting for time to pass and being able to shout champion.
Players like Gignac and goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán achieved their fifth league title with Tigres and continue to add to their history at the club. For its part, the Monterrey team reached Club León in fifth place among the clubs with the most league titles, behind América (13), Chivas (12), Toluca (10), and Cruz Azul (9).
In other important tournament data, Henry Martín (América) was the tournament’s top scorer with 14 goals, followed by Julián Quiñones (Atlas) and Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey), both with 13. Diego Valdés (América) was the player who recorded the most provided assists (7), while Nahuel Guzmán was the goalkeeper who completed most matches without conceding any goal (11), but Esteban Andrada (Monterrey) was the one who had the average number of fewer goals conceded per game (0.7).
What to expect for next season?
This season left us with many surprises. Then again, the favorites failed to deliver and the Liguilla has shown to be a good way to prevent long hegemonies at the top. However, there are already many things to talk about, for example, will the relegations come back?
Amid the pandemic, the Owners Assembly, with the excuse of “protecting the stability of the top flight”, created the Liga Expansion and allow the teams that don’t perform well to pay a fee and stay in Liga MX. Amid periods of bad form for many important teams, the decision has been plenty criticized by the fans, that have already shown their discontent with the “Franchise” system that Mexican football implements. We are yet to see what will happen in the future as, even if relegation and promotion are not entirely eliminated, the conditions for a team to move between the second and first división of Mexico prevent this from happening.