The relegation-threatened Chivas and coach Tomas Boy got the last laugh as Guadalajara pulled off an upset against the powerful Tigres.
Sunday Night Futbol! Akron Stadium in Guadalajara, the defending champion Tigres in town and the Chivas are on a 5-game losing streak.
Both teams took part in international competitions during the week. The Chivas finally back at home after losing to Atletico de Madrid in the International Champions Cup, while the Tigres had returned to Monterrey on Wednesday after defeating Real Salt Lake in the Leagues Cup.
The Chivas starting line-up was different than their last league outing with Miguel Ponce, Antonio Briseño, Oswaldo Alanis, and Jose Carlos Van Rankin all starting in defense as the injured Hiram Mier was left on the bench. “Chofis” Lopez started in midfield and Toño Rodriguez was a surprise starter in goal as many El Rebaño supporters weren’t happy with his performance last week against Santos.
The Tigres had a different look, too. Winger Javier Aquino and midfielder Lucas Zelarayan were out after picking up injuries in the Leagues Cup, while Juergen Damm got a start. On defense, coach Tuca Ferretti relied mostly on regulars with the exception of Jair Díaz who opened at left back in place of the injured Jesus Dueñas.
The game started off slowly with the Chivas holding possession and playing with inspiration. It seems that whenever this team faces the Tigres, Alan Pulido and company bring their A game.
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Just 9 minutes in, Isaac Brizuela lifted a corner kick to the front post and “El Pollo” Briseño got their first, heading home powerfully to put Guadalajara up 1-0.
The Chivas continued playing well and got a break in minute 23 when former Chiva Carlos Salcedo took down midfielder Michael Perez with a flying kick. A foul was called initially, but Video Assistant Replay called down and the result was a red card for Salcedo.
Tuca adjusted his line-up (removing forward Edu Vargas for defender Jorge Torres Nilo) to maintain a back four. Alanis came close to adding a second for Chivas off a corner kick, but he missed the net. The Tigres played defensively, trying to hold down the fort while looking for openings down the flanks. The Chivas did a good job of clogging midfield with Jesus Molina and Perez to stymie Tigres striker Andre-Pierre Gignac.
The Tigres opened the second half on the front foot and Chivas keeper Rodriguez was mad to work. In minute 50, Damm got to the touch line on the left side and lifted a cross to Gignac at the back post. The Frenchman sent a strong header toward the net but Toño parried it away cleanly.
Shortly thereafter, Gignac got behind the defense and Toño blocked both of his shots though the offside flag had gone up. It just didn’t seem like the night that Gignac would end his streak of never scoring in Estadio Akron and he desperately wanted to do. Gignac is tied with Tomas Boy (the Chivas coach) as the all-time leading scorer in Tigres history and he wanted nothing more than to claim the record while Boy watched from the sideline.
Suddenly, a ruckus erupted and Boy just lost it. Boy seemed riled up and ref Oscar Macias trotted over to show the Chivas coach a yellow card. But Gignac appeared to be taunting Boy and “El Jefe” was furious. Macias ran back over toward Boy and showed him a second yellow, ejecting him from the match. Gignac also received a yellow.
The Tigres started to make inroads on offense but Rodriguez was steady between the pipes. It didn’t help that the Chivas were a mess on the counter and couldn’t maintain possession for any length of time.
In added time, the Chivas attacked down the left side and Pulido split two defenders to cut into the box where Jair Diaz made contact. Pulido went down and Macias pointed to the spot. Pulido converted the penalty and the final whistle blew, the Chivas claiming an important 2-0 victory.
Man of the match
Goalie Jose Antonio Rodriguez
After such a poor outing last week against Santos, many fans – and perhaps teammates – doubted Toño. There were a couple shots that this man had no business saving, but he made the plays and organized the defense well. Rodriguez deserves a lot of praise and his confidence has to be high after tonight’s win.