Lucas Zelarayan (middle) scored a brilliant goal in Tigres' Liga MX Clausura semifinal, first-leg win over visiting Club Tijuana on March 18, 2017, in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico. (Photo: Andrea Jimenez/Straffon Images)
MONTERREY, Mexico – Tigres topped regular-season champion Club Tijuana, while Toluca and Guadalajara played to a draw in the opening matches of the 2017 Liga MX Clausura semifinals on Thursday night.
CONCACAF.com takes a look at the action:
Tigres 2, Club Tijuana 0
Lucas Zelarayan 42’; Javier Aquino 45’
- Defending champion Tigres earned its fifth consecutive victory on a pair of late first half goals from Lucas Zelarayan (42’) and Javier Aquino (45’).
- In brilliant fashion, Zelarayan gave the host a 1-0 lead by deftly flicking to himself off an Ismael Sosa pass, turning and finishing with his left foot from 12-yards out.
- Aquino then doubled the lead on the brink of halftime by taking advantage of a defensive error deep in the Xolos’ area.
- Tigres have outscored opponents 16-2 during their five-match winning streak.
- Club Tijuana is has lost three straight away matches, shut out in each one (two of them v Tigres.
THEY SAID IT:
- Tigres forward Ismael Sosa: “In the first half, we were able to score the goals and that helped us a lot. In the second half, we had several chances and we couldn’t finish off the plays. We could have used another goal. It would have been important, but a good job was done.”
- Club Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud: “This is still not over. We are managing a match of two halves, the first half is over. Now it’s our turn to close things out at home and we leave with the full mindset of looking for the comeback.”
Toluca 1, Guadalajara 1
Fernando Uribe 85’ / Rodolfo Pizarro 83’
- Host Toluca and Guadalajara appeared destined for a scoreless draw when suddenly a pair of goals came in the game’s final 10 minutes.
- Rodolfo Pizarro gave the visitor a 1-0 lead in the 83rd minute, slotting home from seven-yards out after Angel Zaldivar’s shot from outside the box deflected off Toluca defender Paulo Da Silva.
- Toluca responded just two minutes later as Fernando Uribe nodded home from eight yards off a left-sided free kick to secure a draw.
THEY SAID IT:
- Guadalajara head coach Matias Almeyda: “It would be a grave error to think that we are in the final or get overconfident. Ninety-five minutes remain to leave our soul, skin and try to impose our play.”
- Toluca head coach Hernan Cristante: “We have to take care of the goal and know where we can take advantage on a field that is not going to be easy…for the atmosphere, for many things. But you have to go with faith intact.”