Club América scored four goals in their Leagues Cup semifinal against Tigres UANL at BBVA Stadium Tuesday night, yet still tasted heartbreak.
That’s because two of those finishes were own goals, the second a gut-wrenching equalizer for Tigres in the final minute of second-half injury time that set the stage for Los Felinos to advance via a 5-3 penalty-kick shootout win.
Just when it seemed that América would take the win, defender Bruno Valdez let a long throw-in skim off the top of his head, the ball floating over goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez and into the net.
The first own goal in came in the 14th minute, when defender Paul Aguilar poked a dangerous Jurgen Damm cross into his own net.
Las Aguilas head coach Miguel “Piojo” Herrera was visibly upset and frustrated after the game.
“It bothers me to lose, tie in the last minutes, the last seconds of the game, an oversight,” said Herrera in the post-match press conference. “We made four goals today and we could not get the result, that bothers us, leaves us dissatisfied. But we are ready to turn the page.”
A club always aiming to win everything, América carry more than 100 years of history and to be eliminated from any cup is a failure in Herrera’s eyes.
“I have always said that failure is not achieving the objectives that you set, and of course our objective was to lift this trophy and we did not achieve it. It is a failure,” acknowledged Herrera.
This is the second cup loss for his side in quick succession: América fell 3-2 to Atlanta United in the Campeones Cup last week.
The intensity between these two Liga MX giants stayed heated even after the final whistle. While players were walking into the locker rooms an exchange of words between the two teams could be heard. The teams had separate mixed zones for interviews to avoid any more confrontations, with Aguilas players heading straight to their bus.
As for Tigres, did this comeback provide a taste of vengeance on the opponent who edged them – also in a PK shootout – in the Campeon de Campeones last month? Manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti doesn’t see it that way.
“I can't take it that way because we are not in the same circumstance, this is a pass to the final, it is not a dispute in the final, so it does not have the [same] flavor. What we lost with them in penalties is much more painful than what I think they are going through right now,” said Ferretti.
True to his sardonic personality, Ferretti chuckled a bit when asked how he felt about winning without scoring a goal: “América scored four goals and lost.”
Both sides were roared on by their supporters among the 22,532 spectators in BBVA Stadium, the second-largest crowd in the venue’s history, behind only the 22,661 who attended an MLS Cup Playoffs game between the Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders on Nov. 21, 2017.
“It’s truly always beautiful [to see fans] wherever we go, they support us and we are very happy to have achieved the victory for them, for those who always support us,” said Tigres midfielder Guido Pizarro.
These antagonists will face each other yet again this Saturday in Liga MX action at Estadio Universitario.
“The games between América and Tigres are becoming very good lately and I think we must continue to take advantage of this moment and now think about the game we are going to have at home and win the three points,” said Tigres attacker Enner Valencia.
Tigres UANL will meet MX Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup final on Sept. 18 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.