Tigres UANL booked their spot in the Copa Libertadores semifinals with a 2-0 (2-1 aggregate) win over Emelec on Tuesday night. The universitarios were able to overturn their first-leg deficit, while the Ecuadorian club was unable to earn their first positive result on Mexican soil.
In front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd, Tigres struck early to tie the aggregate. In the 5th minute of the game, Joffre Guerrón was fouled along the left wing, giving Tigres a free kick. Rafael Sobis took it and sent the ball into the box; no one managed to reach it, but it fooled the keeper and ended up in the back of the net.
With the 1-0 score, Emelec was obligated to find a goal of their own. If the aggregate remained 1-1, the game would go to penalty kicks; if Tigres scored again, they would advance.
The Ecuadorians couldn’t generate much going forward, though, and Tigres stayed in control of the match. Jesús Dueñas had a chance go begging in the 20th minute before Enrique Esqueda’s diagonal shot went just wide of the post in the 26th, while José Rivas missed a clear chance from a corner kick a minute later.
In the second half, the visitors began to generate some chances of their own, with Miller Bolaños the dangerman for Emelec. Nahuel Guzmán did well to save a one-on-one with Bolaños in the 60th minute to keep Tigres in front.
In the 72nd minute, the stadium went silent as Emelec put the ball in the back of the net, only to erupt again when the assistant referee raised his flag to disallow the goal for offside.
Then, in the 79th minute, Tigres found a second goal. Sobis, the man of the match for Tigres, sent a cross along the six-yard box; an Emelec defender deflected it, and the ball fell nicely for José Rivas, who buried it.
The 2-0 lead put Tigres ahead on aggregate for the first time in this series, although the final 10 minutes were nervy ones since Emelec still needed just one goal to go through. They would not get it, however, and they have now lost three straight Copa Libertadores games on Mexican soil.
With the 2-0 (2-1) victory, Tigres UANL advances to the semifinals, where they will face the winner of the Santa Fe/Internacional series.
Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán, Hugo Ayala, José Arturo Rivas, Jorge Torres Nilo, Israel Jiménez, Édgar Gerardo Lugo, Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas (Egidio Arévalo 89′), Joffre Guerrón (Damián Álvarez 45′), Rafael Sobis, Enrique Esqueda.
Emelec: Esteban Dreer, Jhon William Narvaez, Jorge Guagua, Gabriel Achillier, Oscar Bagüí, Fernando Vícente Gaibor (Javier Charcopa 86′), Pedro Quiñonez, Osbaldo Lastra (Bryan Angulo 80′), Marcos Mondaini (Robert Javier Burbano 70′), Emanuel Herrera, Miller Bolaños.