Tigres erase early 2-0 deficit to claim franchise’s eighth Liga MX title with OT win

Tigres captain Guido Pizarro hoists the trophy after his team's thrilling overtime win against the Chivas. (Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images)
Tigres captain Guido Pizarro hoists the trophy after his team's thrilling overtime win against the Chivas. (Photo by Agustin Cuevas/Getty Images) /
Tigres beat Chivas
The Chivas relied on physical defensive play to hold off Tigres but could not protect a 2-0 first-half lead. Here André-Pierre Gignac is sent flying by a Gilberto Sepúlveda tackle. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

A Guido Pizarro header early in the second overtime completed a comeback from two goals down as Tigres claimed their eighth Liga MX title with a 3-2 win over Guadalajara.

After blanking Tigres in the first leg with a tight defensive formation to earn a 0-0 draw on the road, the Chivas came out blazing. Roberto Alvarado dribbled past two defenders and ripped a shot through a sea of legs and inside the far post to get the hosts on the board just 11 minutes in.

Nine minutes later, a perfectly executed set piece off a corner kick allowed Víctor Guzmán to volley home from atop the 6-yard box and it was 2-0 Chivas in minute 20.

“Los felinos” were stunned, especially since striker André-Pierre Gignac had mishit a header from point-blank range just moments earlier.

Tigres regain poise, but Chivas stand firm

The visitors gathered themselves and remained patient in attack, moving the ball side-to-side, looking for a crease in the Guadalajara defense. But there were none.

In minute 27, playoff MVP Sebastián Córdova gathered a pass near the top of the box, but as he cocked his left leg two Chivas defenders closed him down, and he sprayed his shot.

Once again, coach Veljko Paunovic had designed a solid game-plan and the Goats were carrying it out with aplomb. The Chivas were pressing through midfield, forcing the ball wide then attacking the wings from inside out.

Despite 68% possession, Tigres managed just two shots on goal in the first half, neither of which tested Miguel Jiménez.

In the second half, Guadalajara started dropping their lines back and no longer pressed aggressively past midfield. The Tigres playmakers had more space, but were indecisive (allowing double-teams to gather) or careless with the ball (bad passes or over dribbling).

In minute 63, the visitors got the break they needed. While defending a centering pass, Chivas defender Antonio Briseño failed to tuck away his arms as Córdova flicked a header toward goal. André-Pierre Gignac converted the penalty and the momentum shifted.

Six minutes later, Córdova raced past Alan Mozo on the back side and headed home a Javier Aquino cross from in close. It was Córdova’s league-leading sixth goal of the playoffs.

Guadalajara sagged and Tigres surged but could do no more harm during regulation time.

90 minutes not enough

As the first extra time proceeded, fatigue and cramping set in. (Rafa Carioca, the best Tigres player to that point, was unable to continue in overtime, sitting on the bench with ice packs taped to both legs.)

Jiménez stepped up big in the first extra period, making three spectacular saves, including two in quick succession on a Tigres breakout.

In minute 109, Tigres earned a corner kick. Fernando Gorriarán sent in a nice cross to the far post that Nicolás Ibáñez redirected back toward the middle. Gignac got a foot on it and the ball bounced up to an alert Córdova who quickly nodded it toward goal where Guzmán headed it clear.

Unfortunately, the ball looped out toward Pizarro who out-leaped Jesús Sánchez and met it squarely with his forehead. The ball ricocheted off Alan Torres’ head as he charged at the Tigres captain and flew over a helpless Guzmán still standing at the goal-line.

The exhausted Tigres managed to kill off the final 11 minutes, even after going down to 10 men in minute 117.

Odds and Ends

Tigres now has eight Liga MX titles and six of those times they hoisted the trophy as the lower seed, celebrating on their opponents’ field. This season, the Northern Giants were the No. 7 seed while Guadalajara was the No. 3 seed.

Since Liga MX increased the playoff field to 12 teams (from eight), no team seeded lower than No. 4 had won the title.

Robert Dante Siboldi earned his second Liga MX winner’s medal as a coach (his first came as manager of Santos Laguna back in 2018). Siboldi did not take over until mid-April, directing his first game on Matchday 15. Siboldi was the third Tigres manager this season, succeeding Diego Cocca (who left to take the El Tri job) and Marco Antonio Ruiz who was fired after a four-game losing streak sank the club into the wildcard race.

Next. A night of farewells for Barça at the Camp Nou. dark

Gignac’s penalty kick was his seventh goal in a Liga MX Finals match, moving him into a tie with Carlos Hermosillo and Humberto Suazo for second place on the all-time list. José Saturnino Cardozo tops the list with nine.