Sunday night, Chivas Guadalajara finally won the big one, toppling Tigres UANL 2-1 at home to win the Liga MX Clausura 2017 final by the aggregate score of 4-3. That win gave Chivas its first championship since 2006, and helped to validate their “All Mexican” approach in the face of a rapidly changing and globally expanding Mexican league.
What should have been a joyous occasion, however, turned quickly into a controversial war of words, as a handful of Tigres players and supporters have voiced criticisms of the referees during the second leg of the final, specifically in reference to a penalty non-call in the closing minutes of the game.
Tigres forward Ismael Sosa was among those to complain publicly, personally calling out referee Luis Enrique Santander: “It’s a shame that the ref, Santander, had no balls when it came to calling the penalty,” said Sosa, in reference to a play where he was dragged down inside the box at the end of the game, but an offsides was called instead of the spot kick. Sosa continued, saying that to fix the league, they have to fix refs, and that he’s mad because “I feel like I was robbed of a title, that’s what I have to speak up.”
His Tigres teammate and fellow Argentinian, Guido Pizarro, also chimed in on Santander’s decision, stating that “while Chivas deserved the title, I want to talk about the refereeing. What happened at the end of the game is not normal.” He also threw shade at Santander’s standing in Liga MX, noting that he has too much influence on the Liguilla playoffs, after also refereeing a quarterfinal and a semifinal this time around. “His calls didn’t just affect us; he has influence on every date” of matches, said Pizarro.