Pachuca's goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco (pictured) saved a penalty kick in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final, first leg at Tigres on April 18, 2017, in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico – Pachuca goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco earned the praise of head coach Diego Alonso after rebounding from a first-half error and helping the Tuzos to a 1-1 draw with host Tigres in the first leg of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final on Tuesday.
In the 32nd minute, Blanco spilled Jesus Dueñas’ cross from the right side of the box, allowing Ismael Sosa to swoop in for the equalizer. The 29-year-old- custodian, however, redeemed himself in the 67th minute, when he extended right to save Eduardo Vargas’ penalty kick.
“The truth is that the result made me happy because stopping the penalty keeps us level in the series, and more so because [Alfonso] is a boy that has the qualities,” said Alonso. “He works hard. He has been the back-up for a while, but we believe he has the qualities to be able to save.”
As it pertained to the game itself, Alonso rejected the idea that he tactically got the better of his Tigres counterpart, Ricardo Ferretti. The Uruguayan, though, stressed that his side completed its mission at the Estadio Universitario.
“The result only says that we fulfilled our commitment of being able to score an away goal,” Alonso concluded. “We take with us a draw and, hopefully, that when we play at home we can make it count.”