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Tigres comes from behind to beat LAFC in CCL Final

Major League Soccer’s long wait for a Concacaf Champions League title looked like it might come to an end on Tuesday night at Exploria Stadium, but it was another torturous wait for a CCL title that came to an end instead.

Tigres won its first Concacaf Champions League title, shaking off a 1-0 second-half deficit to defeat LAFC, 2-1, in Tuesday’s final.

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored the winning goal in the 84th minute to seal the victory and complete the comeback after LAFC took a second-half lead.

After a goal-less first half, it was LAFC striking first, with Diego Rossi converting a Mark-Anthony Kaye chip pass and giving the MLS side the lead in the 51st minute after some quality combination play between Kaye and Carlos Vela.

LAFC nearly found a second goal in the 65th minute, but Kwadwo Opoku’s perfect set-up pass to a wide-open Carlos Vela in front of goal failed to produce a finish, as Vela’s shot was blocked by Luis Rodriguez, keeping the Mexican side within striking distance.

The Tigres equalizer came in the 71st minute on a corner kick headed home by Hugo Ayala.

The equalizer gave Tigres a big confidence boost while it appeared to deflate an LAFC side that tired late on. The insertion of midfielder Francisco Ginella for Jose Cifuentes was made in order to solidify possession on a night when Cifuentes struggled with turnovers, but Ginella struggled to find the game, and was one of the key culprits on the Tigres winner.

Tigres midfielder Luis Rodriguez dribbled past Ginella, brushing off a weak defensive effort before finding Gignac with an excellent pass, and the French star did the rest, scoring the winner to deliver Tigres its first CCL title, the championship Gignac had stated recently he wanted desperately to win for his club.

LAFC’s loss leaves MLS still searching for its first title in the Concacaf Champions League format (which began in the 2008-2009 season, and first Concacaf club title since the LA Galaxy won the Concacaf Champions Cup in 2000.

LAFC joins a list of MLS teams to fall in the Concacaf Champions League final that includes Toronto FC (2018), the Montreal Impact (2015) and Real Salt Lake (2011).

The victory helped end Tigre’s painful history in CCL finals, having lost in three of the past four finals. Now Tigres will play in the Club World Cup, which is set to be played in February in Qatar.

Comments

  1. Going forward, I wonder how much longer Vela can play given the rough treatment he receives. At over 30 the time to recover from all the “little” knocks will only increase. LAFC must find a way to protect him better like ensuring that he gets the ball closer to the goal where fouling him can be costly. I didn’t count the number of fouls he received at the hands of Tigres, but I think it was substantially more than any other player.

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  2. LAFC was just not as good as it has been. Its passing was off and they gave the ball away much more than usual. They clearly tired after the Tigres goal. I think the difference was that in the semifinal LAFC played almost half the game a man down and then they had a relatively quick turn around for the final. I think they weren’t as fresh as Tigres as a result.

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  3. Opoku, for me, was the biggest positive surprise for LAFC. Vela not scoring on his pass was a disaster. A fresh Ginella was worse than a tired Cifuentes and was at fault on the game-winner. What’s with LAFC and corner kicks, in each of the last two games, the defense basically stood and watched the opponents out hustle them to the cross, and why was Blessing, the shortest guy, in the middle of the zone instead of someone who is not so vertically challenged?

    Still there were large stretches where LAFC was the better team but only goals count!

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    • LAFC repeatedly did not protect the short corners. Tigres had already had a chance on another short corner similar prior to tying up the score at 1-1.

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  4. LAFC had plenty of chances 1rst half, besides the missed penalty no call. Even with the South American fire power, Bob Bradley has at disposal, it was tough to watch the team miss opportunities.

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    • I agree, what is up with the CONCACAF officiating, clearly showing its bias against MLS teams. Latif Blessing was fouled in the box early in the game and the ref didn’t even blink an eye, and yet a few moments later, LAFC fouls Tigres player outside the box and ref immediately calls foul.

      The BS continues from CONCACAF. It is a never ending saga. There’s a reason they don’t VAR because refs/officials can’t be bribed anymore.

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  5. LAFC had their chance to end the drought. Had Carlos Vela scored on that golden opportunity which was delivered to Vela on a platter by Opoku, the MLS side would have been sitting on a 2-0 lead. LAFC tired out and lost their mojo after they scored. The introduction of Ginella was disastrous. Ginella struggled to find the game after he came in as a late sub, and then simply gave up on the play in the middle of chasing a Tigres player who passed the ball to Gignac. The Frenchman calmly placed the ball into the net for the winning goal. It was hard to watch.

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