CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Club León to face Carlos Vela’s LAFC in CONCACAF Champions League final after Tigres win
La Fiera overcame a 2-1 first-leg deficit to see off Los Auriazules thanks to two early goals and a late winner from Adonis Frías.
Club Léon will take on Carlos Vela’s Los Angeles FC in the final of the CONCACAF Champions League after overcoming a 2-1 first leg deficit against Liga MX rivals Tigres in the semi-finals to win 4-3 on aggregate.
The first leg at Estadio Universitario started in entertaining fashion and the second followed that pattern, with the visitors’ having a chance to open the scoring through André Pierre-Gignac just two minutes in. The Frenchman got on the end of Sebastián Córdova’s low cross just a few yards out but was denied by a crucial block from William Tesillo.
Early goals swing the tie in Léon’s favour
After surviving that early scare, Los Panzas Verdes moved ahead in the tie on away goals with their first meaningful effort of the match on 10 minutes, a superb curling strike from distance from midfielder Fidel Ambriz, which left Tigres keeper Nahuel Guznán clutching at thin air.
And before the match had reached the 15-minute mark, they were 2-0 up on the night, Ángel Mena poking home from close range after Alfonso Alvarado’s first-time effort had been parried at the end of a free-flowing León attack down the right.
Despite seeing their first-leg lead completely evaporate in a quarter-of-an-hour, Robert Siboldi’s side knew that they needed just one goal to restore parity in the tie. However, they were somewhat flat in the attacking third of the field in the first half, which did little to suggest they could turn things back around.
Fulgencio’s instant impact from the Tigres bench
However, Tigres kept plugging away and their fortunes improved after half-time, especially following the introduction of Raymundo Fulgencio from the bench just before the hour mark. The speedy winger levelled things up with a brilliant individual goal minutes after coming on, collecting a short corner and jinking his way into the box before rifling an effort into the top corner.
Frías fires La Fiera into first final
Unfortunately for Los Auriazules, they wouldn’t be level for long. Léon’s winning goal couldn’t have been simpler, with Tesillo getting his to a corner and knocking the ball down for Adonis Frías, who has was all alone at the back post to sweep into the net.
Tigres threw everything at León in the final 10 minutes (plus injury time) in a desperate attempt to get back into the contest. But they ultimately came up short and suffered their first ever semi-final defeat in the CONCACAF Champinons League, a competition they have reached the final of on four previous occasions.
Nicolás Larcamón, meanwhile, will lead León into their first final, where they will take on MLS Cup winners LAFC and Vela.