The Clausura 2017 Ascenso MX season has wrapped up and the Liguilla begins this week, with eight teams competing for the league title and the spot in the promotion playoff that comes with it.
Apertura 2016 champions Dorados de Sinaloa have qualified for the postseason again, and should they win this season’s championship as well they will earn automatic promotion to Liga MX. Otherwise, they will face this season’s winner in the promotion playoff.
The match-ups and schedule are as follows; all times Eastern, home team listed first.
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.
Sunday, December 25 Tigres UANL (3) vs América (5) – 7:30 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes First leg: América 1-1 Tigres
Tigres UANL will host the decisive second leg of the Gran Final on Christmas Day. The universitarios didn’t have the best record at home in the Volcán during the regular season, with just three wins from nine matches, but they will look to their league-leading defense to keep the Águilas off the board.
The champion of the Apertura 2016 will be crowned on Christmas day as Tigres UANL hosts América in the second leg of the Gran Final.
The 1-1 draw in the first leg leaves everything to play for here in a game that will be winner-takes-all. The final is a total goals, aggregate score series; away goals are not tiebreakers. Should the aggregate remain tied at the end of the second leg, the match will proceed to extra time and penalties, if needed.
América and Tigres UANL left everything to play for in Sunday’s second leg after a 1-1 draw on Thursday night.
América had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 28th minute, when Paul Delgadillo awarded a penalty kick for a foul by Jesús Dueñas on Oribe Peralta. Peralta himself stepped up to take the PK, but he slammed it into the crossbar to keep the game 0-0.
Thursday, December 22 América vs Tigres UANL – 10:00 PM – Univision Deportes América (5th) will host the first leg of the Gran Final just days after flying home from Japan, where the Águilas finished fourth in the 2016 Club World Cup. That tournament caused a lengthy delay between the semifinals and the final, and América will hope that staying match-fit will offset the effects of fatigue and international travel; Tigres UANL will be rested, but possibly rusty after not having any competitive matches for 18 days.
Some 18 days after the semifinals ended, the Gran Final of the Apertura 2016 is finally ready to get underway. After a hiatus caused by América’s participation in the Club World Cup, the Liguilla continues this Thursday with the first leg of the final.
The final is a total goals, aggregate score series; away goals are not tiebreakers. Should the aggregate be tied at the end of the second leg, the match will proceed to extra time and penalties, if needed.
América booked their spot in the Apertura 2016 Gran Final with a 2-0 (3-1 aggregate) victory over Necaxa. The Rayos couldn’t keep their Cinderella run alive, with two late goals by the Águilas sealing the series. América is now off to Japan for the Club World Cup, and the Liga MX final will not be played until December 22nd and 25th as a result.
The first leg result put América in the driver’s seat tonight, as all they needed to advance was a goalless draw. Necaxa was obligated to score, and they came close on several occasions, even hitting the woodwork in the 33rd minute.