In the first leg of this historic Clásico Regio Gran Final, Tigres UANL and Monterrey played to a 1-1 draw. It was a hard-fought game in wintry weather, with both rain and hail falling over the course of the 90 minutes – conditions that didn’t deter the 41,602 fans who were present in the Volcán.
The visitors took an early lead from a set piece. In the 8th minute, Dorlan Pabón sent a corner kick to the near post, where Nicolás Sánchez nodded the ball on. Nahuel Guzmán couldn’t keep it out and Monterrey had the 0-1 lead.
Tigres continued to press after falling behind and in the 27th minute they won a penalty kick. Enner Valencia was brought down by Rogelio Funes Mori in the box and referee Jorge Isaác Rojas pointed to the spot.
Valencia himself stepped up to take the PK, and he chipped it down the center Panenka-style to level the game 1-1.
Tigres kept on the attack after the equalizer, and André-Pierre Gignac had a good chance just minutes later, only to send it high.
In the second half, there were chances for both teams to take the lead, although the universitarios had the better of the run of play. Valencia had a good opportunity for a second in the 49th and then Eduardo Vargas’s header was stopped by Hugo González in the 60th.
The Monterrey keeper also had to make a save against César Montes, who nearly scored an own-goal. The Rayados were nowhere near as dominant as they had been in either the regular season or the first two rounds of the playoffs; their best chance to retake the lead came in the 70th minute when Pabón went one-on-one with Guzmán, but the keeper made the save.
At the other end, González made good saves against Jesús Dueñas and Gignac in the 71st and 76th minutes to keep the game level.
The game ended with a pair of expulsions, as first Monterrey’s Leonel Vangioni and then Tigres’ Hugo Ayala were ejected in the 87th and 91st minutes, respectively, both for picking up a second yellow card.
With the 1-1 draw, Sunday’s second leg will be a winner-takes-all affair. Should the two teams draw again, the game will go to extra time and then penalties if needed. Away goals are not tiebreakers in the final.
Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Jorge Torres Nilo, Luis Rodríguez, Rafael Carioca, Javier Aquino, Jesús Dueñas, Eduardo Vargas (Ismael Sosa 79′), André-Pierre Gignac, Enner Valencia.
Monterrey: Hugo González, Nicolás Sánchez (César Montes 45′), Leonel Vangioni, José María Basanta, John Stefan Medina, Carlos Sánchez, Celso Ortiz (Arturo González 85′), Jonathan González, Rogelio Funes Mori, Dorlan Pabón, Avilés Hurtado (Jesús Molina 68′).