Herediano celebrates after scoring against visiting Tigres in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match on August 17, 2016, in Heredia, Costa Rica. (Photo: Mexsport)
MONTERREY, Mexico – If Herediano wants to return to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals for the second time in three editions, it has no choice but to defeat host Tigres on Tuesday. Anything less and the Florenses will go home empty handed.
In three previous SCCL meetings between them, the Costa Rican champion has never beaten the 2015/16 runner-up, including a 3-1 loss at home in August.
Despite the odds, Herediano head coach Hernan Medford believes that his team is capable of springing a surprise.
“We have a solid team, with players that have already won the Champions League, players who have been in World Cups, are on the national team, so we have a team with experience,” said Medford, who guided Saprissa to the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup title. “Tigres is the favorite to win the Champions League because of their roster. For us, we got the hardest one, but that only motivates us more to make history.”
Herediano will be looking to repeat the feat accomplished by fellow Costa Rican side Alajuelense during the 2013/14 SCCL group stage. The Manudos traveled to the Estadio Azteca needing a win over Club America in order to progress and did just that with a 1-0 stunner.
Medford acknowledges that squaring off against Tigres is a tall task. However, he has been analyzing video and trusts that the preparation will pay off against a squad that has lost its last two Liga MX outings after opening the Apertura with an 11-game unbeaten run.
“One knows Tigres,” the 48-year-old Medford finished. “We see more of them than they do of us. One has studied them well, but that is not to say that you already won. It helps us facilitate things a little bit because we are going to find a wounded Tigres that wants to bounce back against us, so we are going to try to avoid that.”