Tigres (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, first-leg encounter on March 14, 2017, in San Niclas de los Garza, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico -- Tigres scored twice in the second half to earn a 2-0 win over visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the first leg of their 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series on Tuesday at the Estadio Universitario.
The host posted a victory for the third time in its last four matches in the competition, while Vancouver saw its six-game unbeaten streak come to an end.
An own-goal gave UANL a 1-0 lead, which was doubled late as Eduardo Vargas struck for the second time in three SCCL games.
Andre-Pierre Gignac was Tigres’ most dangerous attacker in the first half and proved integral in giving his side the lead in the 66th minute. After receiving a Vargas pass in the left side of the box, the France international delivered a cross that Vancouver’s Kendall Waston slid to clear, only to steer the ball past goalkeeper David Ousted.
An impressive pair of saves by Ousted kept Vancouver within a goal. He dove right to deny Luis Quinones’ first-time half volley from near the penalty spot in the 74th minute and lunged left to save Lucas Zelarayan’s header from a similar spot two minutes later.
Vargas netted an insurance goal with three minutes remaining in normal time. A Jurgen Damm effort from the right side of the penalty area rebounded off a Vancouver defender. The ball fell to Vargas, who volleyed it out of the air into the lower right corner.
The sides will meet again in the return leg on April 5 at BC Place, where Vancouver is unbeaten in SCCL play (4W-1D-0L).