Tigres reach the Clausura 2023 final: what is their Liga MX playoff final record?
Los Auriazules defeated Monterrey over two legs in the last four and will face Club América or Chivas in the final.
Tigres will face either Club América or Chivas in the final of the Liga MX Clausura 2023 after Sebastián Córdova scored for the fifth game in a row to defeat bitter rivals Monterrey at Estadio BBVA on Saturday. Rayados thought they had one foot in the final after Héctor Moreno prodded into the net from close range but the defender’s strike was ruled out for offside and Auriazules midfielder Córdova added insult to injury by heading home minutes later.
The two-legged final will be played on Thursday 25 May and Sunday 28 May, with the qualified teams facing each other home and away, as is the case throughout the playoffs.
Tigres have now reached the playoff final on 10 occasions since the short tournament system was introduced in Liga MX in 1996 and they have had plenty of ups and downs in what has become Mexican soccer’s showpiece fixture.
How many Liga MX playoff finals have Tigres lost?
Let’s start with the bad news and finish on a high. For a long time, most supporters of the club changed the subject any time a liguilla final came up in conversation. The San Nicolás de los Garza side are undoubtedly one of Mexico’s biggest clubs but failed to even qualify for a final in the first 10 short tournaments.
And when they did finally make it, they lost their first two. They were unable to mount a second-leg comeback after losing to Pachuca in Invierno 2001 and suffered the exact same fate against the exact same opponent a couple of years later in Apertura 2003, albeit they did manage to make slightly more of a fight of it.
It then took Tigres eight years to reach another final, at which point their fortunes started to change (more on the good times below). But despite their overall success, they also suffered two more disappointments.
They lost the Apertura 2014 final to Club América, suffering a hugely damaging 3-0 defeat in the second leg after opening the tie up with a 1-0 at Estadio Universitario. It’s the hope that kills you. That loss meant they had been beaten in three of their first four liguilla finals.
Their most recent reverse came in the Clausura 2017 tournament, won by Mathas Almeyda’s Chivas in a thrilling seven-goal final. In truth, Guadalajara were always in control having been two goals up in both legs.
How many Liga MX playoff finals have Tigres won?
Happily, if you have any association with or fondness for Tigres at least, things have turned around pretty spectacularly for them in playoff finals. Los Auriazules have won five of their last seven, all with Ricardo Ferretti in charge of the team.
The run began in the Apertura 2011 tournament and was relatively stress-free, with Santos Laguna beaten in both legs of the final.
Following that 2014 defeat to América, Ferretti’s side then went on to win two tournaments out three in 2015 and 2016. They triumphed in Apertura 2015 thanks to a tense victory over regular season winners Pumas. Tigres looked to be home and dry after a 3-0 first-leg win but lost by the same scoreline in Mexico City and the tie went to a shoot-out after extra-time. Despite their disappointment on the night, they scored all four of their penalties to ultimately lift the trophy.
12 months later came an equally nervy affair against América, which was also settled from the spot. Jesús Dueñas netted an equaliser late in extra-time in the second leg and all the momentum was with Tigres going into the shoot-out, in which Las Águilas missed all three of their spot-kicks.
Following the loss to Chivas, the men from San Nicolás won their next two finals, which have been their last two. They came from behind in both legs to edge out Monterrey in Apertura 2017 before winning their first Clausura in 2019, André-Pierre Gignac scoring the only goal of a tight final against León.
Tigres haven’t featured in any of the six finals played since but are now back in the big time. Can they make it three in a row after a four-year absence?