Tigres (pictured) gathers for a team photo prior to its Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, second leg against host Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 5, 2017, in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: Mexsport)
Thanks to prevailing over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the semifinals, 4-1 on aggregate, Tigres became the fifth club to reach consecutive Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League finals, joining Club America (2014/15, 2015/16); Santos (2011/12, 2012/13); Monterrey (2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13); Cruz Azul (2008/09, 2009/10). In last year’s decider, UANL fell 4-1 on aggregate to Club America. Can it earn a first-ever international title against fellow Liga MX side Pachuca?
SCCL SUMMARY (2016/17 Overall Record: W-6; D-1; L-1; GF-17; GA-5)
Tigres was one of only two teams – Pumas being the other -- to lose a 2016/17 SCCL group-stage game on the road and still earn a berth in the quarterfinals. Regardless of that 1-0 setback at Plaza Amador in Week 5, UANL won its other three matches, scoring three goals in each. For the second consecutive SCCL, Tigres posted only one clean sheet during the group stage.
In the quarterfinals, following a 1-1 draw at Pumas in the opener, the Felinos were on target in the second leg and ran away with a 3-0 win.
Against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the final four, Tigres once again advanced, 4-1 on aggregate, winning both matches (2-0 home, 2-1 away)
Next up: Final, First Leg – home v Pachuca (April 18, 2017)
WATCH -- Semifinal, Second Leg Highlights: Gignac, Alvarez strike for Tigres in win
2016/17 SCCL Crucial Instant
Tigres saved its best group-stage performance for its last match against visiting Herediano in Week 6. Coming off a 1-0 loss at Plaza Amador, UANL needed a win or a draw to advance, while the Florenses were obligated to take all three points in order to progress. Hugo Ayala (27’) and Luis Quiñones (35’) struck for their first-ever SCCL goals during an eight-minute, first-half stretch, settling any doubts and paving the way for 3-0 Tigres triumph.
Andre-Pierre Gignac: With four goals, the 31-year-old France international was Tigres’ top scorer in the 2015/16 SCCL – even scoring in the final, second leg at Club America – but the forward didn’t find the back of the net in the current edition until netting in the semifinal, second leg in 2-1 win at Vancouver. A player of his quality can make all the difference as the stakes become higher and the nerves get tighter.
Give credit to…
Jorge Torres Nilo: Tigres has conceded only five goals in eight games during the 2016/17 SCCL. The left-back, 29, started in seven of those outings, racking up 569 minutes on the pitch. In the only game UANL has lost thus far – 1-0 away v Plaza Amador on September 28, 2016 – Torres Nilo didn’t play.
Keep an eye on…
Javier Aquino: The 27-year-old winger had not made any appearances in the knockout stages until the semifinal, second leg at Vancouver, where he assisted on both goals – Andre-Pierre Giganc (63’) and Damian Alvarez (84’) -- in a 2-1 win.
CONCACAF Club Honors
Bidding for first international title of any kind.