Tigres holds Liga MX playoff future in own hands

Jesus Dueñas (pictured) celebrates after scoring for Tigres in a Liga MX Clausura win over visiting Club Tijuana on April 29, 2017, in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico. (Photo: Andrea Jimenez/Straffon Images)

SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico – Tigres head coach Ricardo Ferretti has faith that his team can secure in the 2017 Liga MX Clausura playoffs with a victory on Saturday at Queretaro.

The defending champion Felinos endured a rough start to the 2017 Clausura with a 1W-1D-4L record in their the first six matches, but since then they have compiled a 5W-3D-2L mark, topping first-place Club Tijuana, 3-0, over the weekend to pull into the top eight.

“It is the first time that we have been in the qualification zone the whole season,” Ferretti said Monday. “We depend on nothing more than ourselves and the mindset, in that sense, improved a lot.”

The win over Club Tijuana was made more impressive by the fact that it came just three days’ after Tigres’ 1-0 loss at Pachuca in the second leg of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final, which gave the Tuzos a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

UANL has fate in its own hands and a win against Queretaro, which defeated host Toluca (2-1) in its last outing, will secure passage to the quarterfinals.

“If we do things well in the next match, we can qualify,” finished Ferretti. “Queretaro will not be easy. They played a good match against Toluca. We have faith in earning qualification.”

Six other teams, including CONCACAF champion Pachuca, are in striking range of Tigres’ 22-point total.