MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — Midfielder Aldo Rocha converted a stoppage penalty to help Atlas become the first finalist in the Mexican Clausura tournament, despite losing 4-2 to Tigres on Saturday.
A dramatic second leg of the semifinals ended with the agonizing goal that gave the passage to the athletes, by a combined score of 5-4.
French striker André-Pierre Gignac scored at 53, 59 and 73 minutes, and Chilean Igor Lichnovsky scored another goal at 81 to put the score 4-1 in the second leg, which gave Tigres a pass to the final.
However, Jesús Angulo knocked Rocha down inside the area for a penalty that the midfielder converted low to the right side.
Julián Quiñones took advantage of a great pass from Luis Reyes to score the other goal in the 44th minute for the Foxes, who will now seek to become just the third team to win consecutive titles since short tournaments were established in the country in 1996.
“We have things very clear, what we talk about behind closed doors is clear and there is faith that we can repeat the championship,” said Argentine coach Diego Cocca. “Now to rest and see tomorrow who we get to be ready for a new final.”
Atlas’ rival will come out of the series between America and Pachuca, which is tied 1-1 and will be played this Sunday night.
At the end of the game, Liga MX reported in a statement that it will investigate Tigres for possible improper alignment. Tigres started the second half with nine players not trained in the country when the regulations allow only eight.
The organism said that the Disciplinary Commission will analyze the case and in the week will give a resolution.
Atlas could win the match 3-0 at the table if Tigres is found guilty.
“It was my mistake, completely lack of concentration, I was thinking about the goals we had to score. I had the change in my head and Hugo (Ayala) told me that he couldn’t take it anymore because of a blow,” said Tigres coach Miguel Herrera. “It’s 100 percent my responsibility.”
The red and black team, which in the last tournament broke a 70-year drought without being champion, is looking for the third title in its history.
If he succeeds, he would join Pumas (2004) and León (Apertura 2013-Clausura 2014), who were two-time champions in short tournaments.
The team led by the Argentine Diego Cocca retained the base that was champion and managed to get into the league as third in the table. In the quarterfinals they knocked out Chivas and now in the semifinals some Tigres who were second.
The setback leaves the university students without a title in the second tournament of former national coach Herrera at the head of the team.
Tigres closed the tournament poorly and got through the preliminary round by drawing 1-1 with Cruz Azul thanks to their better position in the regular tournament.
“It’s not time to achieve the goal of reaching the final, but I remain calm with the dedication of the boys knowing that we were not solid in the first leg and we were left with the feeling of annoyance and sadness, but the tournament is over and to think about the next,” added Herrera.
The felines achieved the first dangerous arrival in the game at 12 minutes with a shot from Argentine Guido Pizarro that went to the side.
The Argentine Julio Furch had an arrival at 15, but his attempt went slightly wide of the goal defended by his compatriot Nahuel Guzmán.
The local team knocked on the door again with a free kick by Gignac that was hurriedly rejected by Colombian goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.
Shortly after, Reyes received a pass from Furch on the left and sent a cross to the heart of the area where Quiñones converted with a right-footed shot through the center of the goal.
In the complement, Tigres was close to discounting at 49 with a shot inside the Gignac area that Vargas rejected with problems.
Shortly after, Gignac was fouled inside the area for a penalty that he himself took with a low shot to the right post of Vargas for 1-1.
Atlas did not recover when the Colombian Julián Quiñones sent a cross from the right and Gignac received at the height of the small area and defined with a powerful shot with his right leg.
Tigres added drama to the match when Colombian Anderson Santamarina knocked down Uruguayan Nicolás López inside the area and Gignac powerfully converted Vargas’ right side, which was defeated by the opposite side.
The university students achieved the goal that gave them the pass when Lichnovsky finished off a cross from the right in the small area to overcome Vargas’s throw, before the madness of the spectators at the University Stadium in the northern city of Monterrey.
But the group from the western city of Guadalajara had the last word and will seek to revalidate the crown.