Tigres’ amazing summer signings have definitely paid off: they will become the 3rd Mexican team ever to play a Copa Libertadores final after defeating Internacional de Porto Alegre 3-1 in the 2nd leg of the semifinal.
Unlike the other two Mexican teams however, Tigres will do it as favorites.
In 2002, Cruz Azul lost against Boca Juniors in a penalty kick shootout at La Bombonera. Eight years later, Chivas de Guadajalara was totally dominated by Internacional de Porto Alegre with a 5-3 two-game score.
Tigres will be playing historic Argentine team River Plate, who is, funnily enough, still in the tournament thanks to the Mexican squad.During the group stage, both teams faced each other twice and tied both games (1-1 and 2-2). But it would be the last game of the round that proved decisive for River, as they needed to win (and also for Tigres not to lose against Peruvian Juan Aurich).
But the 1st round is a long time ago, and now both teams will play extremely motivated: River has not won a Copa Libertadores since 1996 and Tigres wants to be the 1st Mexican team to ever win it.
And the odds seem to be in Tigres’ favor.
Surprisingly, it will be River Plate who comes into the final game as underdogs; Tigres new signings have made it maybe the best team in America on paper.
With 2 assists and the heat he applied to the Brazilian defender who scored an own-goal, Jurgen Dam was crucial to all 3 goals, while French star Gignac opened the score for the Felinos.
And like they say in Mexico, la 3ra es la vencida: Tigres will now be facing River for a 3rd time in this tournament and as the 3rd Mexican team to play a Copa Libertadores final.
After seeing Mexico at the Copa America and Gold Cup semifinal, someone has to stick up for Mexican soccer, even if it’s a Mexican with a German last name, a French Gypsy, a bald-headed Charrua, or a foul-mouthed Brazilian.