The Santos club played to kill or be killed. The warriors earned a valuable 2-1 victory at home over Tigres in the first leg of the Liga MX quarterfinal, to travel with a slight lead to Volcán. The Tigers require a victory at home to continue advancing in the contest.
On each of the last three occasions that Santos faced Tigres in the Liguilla, the warriors advanced and were crowned champions, in the Clausura 2012, Clausura 2015, Clausura 2018. They do not want this tournament to be the exception and they came out with the slogan of giving a blow to the Tigers.
Guillermo Almada’s team sought to surprise from the start and did so with a goal from Diego Valdés at minute four. After a foul, Fernando Gorriarán rushed to put the ball into play with a pass to Omar Campos, surprising the defense, the latter placed an accurate cross that Valdés headed in order to open the scoring.
The Chilean is the leading scorer for Santos, he scored his sixth goal of the tournament against Tigres and his performance did not end there, minutes later he assisted Eduardo Aguirre, who was outlined against goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán to score the second goal in favor of the Laguneros .
In just 12 minutes the scoreboard had tilted in favor of the local team 2-0 after only two shots directly to the goal of Nahuel Guzmán, a situation that left Miguel Herrera, technical director of the Tigres, astonished as well as the considerable amount of feline fans that gathered at the Corona stadium.
In the second half, Tigres was more dominant in possession of the ball. One of the first movements of Miguel Herrera was the change of Carlos González for Nicolás López, despite the fact that ‘El tooth’ had shown a good performance so far.
But the coach knows his arsenal well and ended up paying off. Carlos González fought a ball that was in a good position for André Pierre-Gignac to finish off with a right from outside the area, scoring the goal for the discount. This was the Frenchman’s 26th goal in the Liguilla, which made him the fourth top scorer alone in this instance, behind only Alberto García Aspe, Jared Borgetti and José Cardozo.
The second half went to Tigres, who finished the game with 18 shots, 64% of possession and 431 passes; on the other hand, Santos finished with 13 shots, 36% possession of the ball and 237 passes.
“We started distracted. The first minutes (Santos) squeezed and they are given opportunities that they realize. After the team settled down, it was improving in the handling of the ball in the action of the game and we ended up dominating, unfortunately we did not have the proper aim. The team came from many sides but we did not make more than one opportunity, but it leaves me with a good taste that the team reacted well and has the potential to go on the attack ”, said Miguel Herrera in a conference at the end of the match.
Tigres need to win by a goal at the University Stadium to continue advancing in this Liguilla, in which the away goal no longer has value.
Despite the fact that Santos had a game of ups and downs, Guillermo Almada pointed out that the important thing before a team against Tigres was to win and it was achieved.
“I think we played a good game for more than the second half we retreated or Tigres forced us, which is not the idea. Ultimately the key remains open. We won, which is the important thing and surely we will go with all the optimism and faith to try to win it, ”said the Uruguayan.