Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final, first leg between visiting Pachuca (left) and Tigres on April 18, 2017, in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico -- Both goals were scored in the first half as Tigres and visiting Pachuca played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final at the Estadio Universitario on Tuesday night.
The encounter kicked off the seventh meeting between Mexican clubs in nine all-time SCCL deciders and, while a new champion will be crowned, the trophy is guaranteed to remain in Mexico.
Pachuca took a 1-0 lead in the third minute, when Raul Lopez's right-footed free kick took a severe deflection off Eduardo Vargas’ left shoulder and spun just inside the right post beyond scrambling goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman.
Following a relentless stretch of attacking play, the host equalized in the 32nd minute through Ismael Sosa, who cleaned up from three-yards out after Pahuca goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco spilled Jesus Dueñas' cross from the right side of the box.
In the 50th minute, Andre-Pierre Gignac was perfectly positioned to put Tigres ahead, but – with the goal at his mercy – he pulled a right-footed shot from nine yards wide of the left post and then stared into his hands in disbelief.
Vargas had a chance to net the game-winner for the current Mexican champion in the 67th minute, only for his penalty kick to be saved by the right-diving Blanco after Erick Gutierrez was whistled for a handball in the box.
Guzman preserved the draw with seven minutes remaining in normal time, coming off his line to block an attempt Jonathan Urretavescaya, who was released into the box with a through ball from Franco Jara.
The sides will meet again on April 26 at the Estadio Hidalgo.