“ Not a Classic ” decided by penalty kick shoot-out

Carlos Salcedo celebrates after converting the decisive penalty kick to send the Tigres to the Leagues Cup final. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Carlos Salcedo celebrates after converting the decisive penalty kick to send the Tigres to the Leagues Cup final. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Carlos Salcedo will have something to tweet about now, converting the penalty kick to get the Tigres to the Leagues Cup Final.

The Tigres defeated América 5-3 in a penalty kick shoot-out to advance to the first-ever Leagues Cup Final after the two teams finished their ” Not a Classic ” match in a 2-2 tie. The Aguilas scored all four goals in regulation, but came up short in the shoot-out.

The buzz before the game was a ridiculously animated debate about whether or not the Tigres-América rivalry deserved to be termed a ” Classic. ” Tuesday night’s match was the fifth time these two clubs have met in decisive matches since December 2014. Less than six weeks ago, América defeated the Tigres in the league Champions Cup in a game that also ended in a shoot-out.

Tigres win Not a Classic
Tigres goalie Nahuel Guzmán came up big in the penalty shoot-out. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Tigres got on the board first when Juergen Damm chased a lovely Edu Vargas lead pass down the right flank and sent a firm cross into the six-yard box that América defender Paul Aguilar knocked into his own net. If Aguilar had not gotten his foot on the ball, Enner Valencia was right behind him to poke it home.

Andrés Ibarguen tied it for América with the first of his two goals by converting a penalty kick in minute 36. Carlos Salcedo had knocked down Roger Martínez after the Colombian striker had rounded him deep in the Tigres box.

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Ibarguen put the Aguilas in the lead in minute 83 on a brilliant individual play. América stripped Luis Quiñones by the sideline with a double team and Ibarguen picked up the ball, spun defender Hugo Ayala around then fired a right-footed shot that deflected off Salcedo’s toe, changing the trajectory. Goalie Nahuel Guzmán reacted in time to get his palms on the ball, but it spun over his head and bounded into the net.

Moments later, América’s Martínez was ejected for taking an open-handed swipe at Guido Pizarro after the two had clashed in midfield. With only seconds remaining in added time, the Tigres took a throw-in deep down the right flank. “Chaka” Rodríguez hurled a long entry pass that soared to the edge of the six-yard box where Aguilas defender Bruno Valdez rose up to head the ball away, but it flicked over goalie Oscar Jiménez and grazed the underside of the crossbar to give the Tigres the equalizer.

Tigres win Not a Classic
América goalie Oscar Jimenez laments his failure to stop the winning penalty kick. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Tigres got revenge for their shoot-out loss on July 7 by taking advantage of the absence of América goalie Agustín Marchesín (who transferred to Porto earlier this month). All five Tigres players who stepped up to the spot hit the back of the net, while Guzmán did just enough to stop Leo López on the Aguilas’ third shot. Nahuel lunged left and knocked the ball off the post to deny the youngster.

The game was played in Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium. The Tigres will play the winner of the LA Galaxy-Cruz Azul semifinal in the Final at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Sept. 18.

The two teams will renew their “ Not a Classic ” rivalry on Saturday in Estadio Universitario and no doubt “El Volcán” will be bubbling like a cauldron for the visiting Aguilas.