Tigres tops Vancouver Whitecaps FC for SCCL final berth

Tigres (pictured) celebrates after scoring against host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second leg of their Scoatiabank CONCACAF Champions League series on April 5, 2017, in Vancouver. British Columbia, Canada. (Photo: Mexsport)

VANCOUVER, Canada -- Tigres reached the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final for the second consecutive year, recording a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second leg of their semifinal series at BC Place on Wednesday night.

The current Mexican champion captured the two-legged series, 4-1 on aggregate, also earning a 2-0 home triumph.

After Brek Shea gave Vancouver a third-minute lead, France international Andre-Pierre Gignac and Damian Alvarez struck for second-half goals.

The win sets up an all-Mexican final as Tigres will meet four-time CONCACAF champion Pachuca, which prevailed over FC Dallas (agg: 4-3).  UANL will host the first leg on Tuesday, April 18, with the action shifting to the Estadio Hidalgo on Wednesday, April 26.

Scoring chances were at a premium in the first half as Vancouver scored on its only shot.  Cristian Techera sent a left-wing cross into the penalty area that goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman weakly punched away to Shea, who slotted home with hisleft foot from eight yards.

Shea was forced from the match in the 10th minute after suffering a foot injury trying to strip Luis Rodriguez of the ball.  He was replaced by 16-year-old Alphonso Davies.

In the opening minute of the second half, Costa Rica international Christian Bolaños tested Guzman with a close-range shot from the right side that was saved.

Gignac all but iced the series for Tigres in the 63rd minute off a Javier Aquibo feed, adroitly placing a 20-yard shot past outstretched goalkeeper David Ousted for a 1-1 tie and a 3-1 series lead.

The match was decided in the 84th minute. Lucas Zelarayan sent a pass down the right flank to Aquino, who centered for Alvarez.  The 37-year-old Argentinean drilled the ball home from eight-yards out to notch his first goal since February 28, 2016, for the game-winner.

NOTES: Tigres becomes the fifth team to reach consecutive SCCL finals, joining fellow Mexican sides Club America (2014/15, 2015/16), Santos (2011/12, 2012/13), Monterrey (2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13) and Cruz Azul (2008/09, 2009/10).