After 120 minutes of insanity, Liga-MX-style, Tigres UANL were crowned champions of the Apertura 2016 after defeating América on penalties. A 0-0 draw in regulation (1-1 aggregate) sent the match to extra time, which finished 1-1 (2-2 aggregate) to send it all to penalties.
Nahuel Guzmán then made three straight saves in the shootout as Tigres won the title from the spot, 3-0.
The game was hard-fought from the opening whistle, with neither Tigres nor América willing to give an inch. The hosts had the best chance of the first half through Javier Aquino, who forced Moisés Muñoz into a spectacular save just past the half-hour mark.
In the second half, Oribe Peralta came within inches of opening the scoring in the 55th minute, when he somehow sent the ball wide from within the six-yard box.
Tigres responded with a golden opportunity of their own in the 66th minute, when Jesús Dueñas hit the crossbar with a powerful header. André-Pierre Gignac, who was a doubt for this game due to injury but ended up playing all 120 minutes, also hit the woodwork with his shot in the 81st minute.
With extra time looming, Jorge Tores Nilo put Tigres in a hole as he earned his second yellow card of the game for a foul on Renato Ibarra, leaving the universitarios to see out the 30 extra minutes with just 10 men.
It didn’t take long for the Águilas to make their numerical advantage count, as Edson Álvarez headed home a corner kick in the 94th minute to give América the 0-1 (1-2) lead.
But Rubens Sambueza put Tigres back on level footing numerically when he too earned a second yellow card in the 101st minute for a foul on José Arturo Rivas.
The game then went completely to pieces in stoppage time at the end of the first extra time period, with a shoving match turning into a full-out brawl involving both teams, coaches, and benches.
When the dust settled, referee Jorge Isaác Rojas handed out three more red cards: to Ventura Alvarado on América’s bench, to Paolo Goltz, and to José Arturo Rivas. The final was down to 9 vs 9 with 15 minutes still to play.
Tigres threw everything forward as time wound down, and in the 118th minute, Jürgen Damm got free on the right and sent a cross into the box for Jesús Dueñas, who headed the ball past Muñoz to make it 1-1 (2-2) with just moments remaining.
Tigres had all the momentum going into the shootout, and André-Pierre Gignac, Juninho, and Guido Pizarro converted their penalties while Nahuel Guzmán saved the attempts by William da Silva, Silvio Romero, and Javier Güemez to give Tigres the 3-0 victory.
With the 1-1 (2-2 aggregate) draw and the 3-0 penalty shootout victory, Tigres UANL are the Apertura 2016 champions. This is Tigres’ fifth title.
Highlights and Penalty Shootout
Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán, Jorge Estrada (Alberto Acosta 92′), Hugo Ayala, Juninho, Jorge Torres ilo, Guido Pizarro, Jesús Dueñas, Jürgen Damm, Javier Aquino (Damián Álvarez 54′), Ismael Sosa (José Arturo Rivas 91′), André-Pierre Gignac.
América: Moisés Muñoz, Bruno Valdez, Paolo Goltz, Pablo Aguilar, Miguel Ángel Samudio, William da Silva, José Daniel Guerrero (Edson Álvarez 84′), Renato Ibarra, Rubens Sambueza, Oribe Peralta (Silvio Romero 78′), Michael Arroyo (Javier Güemez 107′).