The Tuzos were perfect at home in the regular season, and they came out looking for a ninth straight win in the Estadio Hidalgo. The game was even, though, with neither team able to take control. Then, in the 18th minute, an own-goal gave Pachuca the lead.
Erick Aguirre sent a cross in from the right, and the unfortunate Luis Rodríguez redirected the ball past Nahuel Guzmán and into his own net to make it 1-0 for the Tuzos.
Tigres responded immediately, though, and they leveled the game in the 21st minute. Pachuca couldn’t clear their lines following a corner kick, with the ball eventually falling to Javier Aquino; his shot took a deflection off Aguirre to beat Rodolfo Cota and make it 1-1.
After the equalizer, Tigres looked the stronger team for a stretch and they had several chances to complete the comeback through André-Pierre Gignac and Jesús Dueñas. Pachuca had a pair of chances of their own through Franco Jara, but the striker then had to leave the game in the 42nd minute due to injury.
In the second half, Nahuel Guzmán became the man of the match for Tigres as he made a number of impressive saves to keep Pachuca from snagging a second goal; Leonardo Ulloa in particular was foiled several times by the Argentinian keeper.
Tigres controlled possession for much of the second half, but Pachuca still had the better of the opportunities. The visitors seemed content to sit back and defend the draw, while the hosts were pressing for a victory. In the end, the scoreline didn’t move as it finished up honors even in the Hidalgo.
With the 1-1 draw, Saturday’s second leg will be a winner-takes-all affair. Should the two teams draw again, a 0-0 or 1-1 draw would advance Tigres (with the away-goals and higher-seed tiebreakers, respectively); a draw of 2-2 or higher would send Pachuca through on away goals.