Tigres score twice in final half hour to claim key road win at León

Sebastián Córdova and André Pierre Gignac do the damage for the visitors

André-Pierre Gignac (center) gestures to the crowd after scoring against León in the Liga MX season opener for Tigres.
André-Pierre Gignac (center) gestures to the crowd after scoring against León in the Liga MX season opener for Tigres. / Jam Media/GettyImages
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André-Pierre Gignac scored his 200th goal in a Tigres jersey to lead “los felinos” to victory at León.

The Esmeraldas had their way with the visitors in the first half, but three sparkling saves by back-up goalie Carlos Felip Rodríguez kept the game scoreless heading Ito the break.

León forward Federico Viñas was twice denied by the journeyman netminder and twice José Ivan Rodríguez misfired with clear looks at goal.

Five minutes after the restart, Angel Mena put “La Fiera” in front, nodding home a headed pass from Viñas in a play that was initially ruled out for offside. Three minutes later, VAR officials confirmed that the scoring play was legit.

Córdova steps up for Tigres

It didn’t take long for Tigres to react and the equalizer came off the left foot of Sebastián Córdova in minute 62.

Juan Brunetta – the Apertura 2023 assist leader – collected his first helper with his new team, sliding a pass to an unmarked Córdova who unleashed a low rocket from 25 meters that beat Rodolfo Cota at the near post.

Suddenly, Tigres were in control of the match and last season’s Liga MX runners-up seemed destined to come away from the Camp Nou with the “W.”

Brunetta squandered a chance to take the lead, one-timing a lovely touch pass from Fernando Gorriarán only to boot it over the crossbar.

Gignac put on his cape and played the hero in minute 77. Guido Pizarro raced to the near post on a corner kick and flicked a header into the goalie box where Gignac eluded his marker and stuck his right boot out to redirect the ball into the back of the net.

First-year Esmeraldas coach Jorge Bava made four changes over the remaining 13 minutes but the scoreboard remained unchanged. León came close though, when a Fidel Ambriz header skimmed the top of the crossbar off a last-gasp free kick.

News and Notes

Former Team Mexico skipper Andrés Guardado could be in the León locker room as early as Tuesday. Guardado has reportedly signed a two-year contract with the Esmeraldas and will return to Liga MX after playing a farewell game for Real Betis against Barcelona on Sunday.

Next. Cementeros have mixed results on Opening Week. Cementeros have mixed results on Opening Week. dark

It might be worth keeping an eye on Real Betis' next move. Earlier this month, the La Liga side was being linked to Tigres midfielder Sebastián Córdova. With the departure of Guardado, "Los Verdiblancos" might be looking to reinforce their squad.