Tigres got the scoring going early, with Eduardo Vargas making it 1-0 in just the 8th minute. Hugo Ayala played in Julián Quiñones with a long ball; the Colombian’s original shot was stopped by Jonathan Orozco, but the rebound fell to Vargas, who put it away.
Santos pressed for an equalizer and they came close in the 23rd minute through Julio César Furch, but Nahuel Guzmán made the save. The keeper was called into action again two minutes later when Eduar Preciado tried his luck with a shot to the far post.
Just a minute after that, Tigres added a second. Luis Rodríguez played in a dangerous ball and Enner Valencia beat his defender to it, making it 2-0 with his header.
The hosts made it three with a very similar play 10 minutes later. Luis Quiñones sent in a cross and Valencia finished it off to make it 3-0 in the 36th minute.
There was no way back for Santos after that, and chances to reduce the deficit were few and far between. Instead, Tigres continued to knock on the door as they looked to run the score up even more.
Vargas and Valencia continued to be active in the second half, but Orozco was able to intervene with saves in the 58th and 64th minutes.
With the 3-0 win, Tigres will advance to the final with a win, a draw, or a one- or two-goal loss in next week’s second leg. They can advance with a three-goal loss as well, so long as they score at least once. As for Santos, they need to win by four to advance outright, while a 3-0 win would send the game to penalties.
Tigres: Nahuel Guzmán, Carlos Salcedo, Hugo Ayala, Jesús Dueñas, Luis Rodríguez, Eduardo Vargas, Rafael Carioca, Guido Pizarro, Enner Valencia, Julián Quiñones, Luis Quiñones (Javier Aquino 71′).
Santos: Jonathan Orozco, Matheus Doria, Hugo Nervo, Jesús Angulo, Javier Abella, Diego Valdes, José Juan Vázquez, Ulises Rivas (Javier Correa 23′), Julio César Furch, Eduar Preciado (Brian Lozano 75′), Marlos Moreno (Deiner Quiñones 80′).