Tigres came out attacking as they looked to put their home-field advantage to good use, and they had a pair of early opportunities through André-Pierre Gignac and Eduardo Vargas. At the other end, Vinicio Angulo had a chance in the 9th minute after being played in by Ángel Mena, but he couldn’t put his attempt on target.
The breakthrough came in the 20th minute. Guido Pizarro kept the ball in along the sideline and played in Luis Quiñones; his initial shot was blocked by Rodolfo Cota, but the deflection set up perfectly for an unmarked Gignac, who slotted the ball home at the far post to make it 1-0 for Tigres.
León looked for a response, with first Mena and then Joel Campbell getting into good positions, but neither was able to finish the opportunities.
Tigres were full of confidence and towards the end of the half they had two good chances to run up the score, but first Ramiro González made a great play in the six-yard box to keep them off the board, and then an almost own-goal by Fernando Navarro was kept out by the post.
It was more of the same in the second half; Gignac in particular looked dangerous for Tigres as he looked to become the universitarios’ all-time leading scorer after tying Tomás Boy’s record with the opening goal. The Frenchman had opportunities in the 45th, 49th, and 63rd minutes, but none of them found the back of the net.
The hosts controlled possession, but León had a chance against the run of play in the 53rd minute, when William Tesillo and Luis Montes combined well, only for Nahuel Guzmán to make the save.
The series remains delicately balanced; Tigres has the lead, but a narrow one, and León will still be very much in the game, especially since they will have home-field advantage for the second leg.
With the 1-0 win, Tigres will claim the title with a win or draw in Sunday’s second leg; León will need to win by two to take the title, while a one-goal win would send the game to extra time and then penalties if needed. Away goals are not a tiebreaker in the final.