Tigres beat reigning back-to-back champions Leon 4-2 in a highly entertaining game in Monterrey on Saturday evening. The pre-match discussions focused around Tigres continuing goal-scoring struggles, but after finding the back of the net four times - a total which they failed to achieve once last season - fans will be hopeful that those difficulties are firmly in the past.
Tigres made one change from the side that drew 0-0 with Atlas on the opening weekend, as Gerardo Lugo replaced the suspended Marco Ruben, while Caicedo came in for Castaneda for the visitors.
Another notable talking point during the build up was the return of Hernan Burbano to face his old club. The winger has struggled to earn a regular place in the team since his arrival from Leon last winter, but the departure of Danilinho to Queretaro meant he was hopeful that he would finally get a chance to impress manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti this season. Included from the start, the 26-year-old wasted no time in repaying his manager’s faith, scoring the opener after thirteen minutes and doubling his team’s lead ten minutes later.
In truth both goals required an element of good fortune. The first was a curling effort from eighteen yards which took a lucky bounce in front of Yarbrough to leave the young shot-stopper clawing at the air in desperation. The second saw Tito Villa’s shot blocked by Marquez’s hand, and while Tigres’ appealed for a penalty the ball eventually fell to Burbano, with the former Leon man left with the easy task of rolling the ball into an unguarded net.
While no doubt delighted with his two-goal haul, Burbano showed considerable respect to his former club by refusing to celebrate either strike.
Tigres’ two goal cushion didn’t last long, as in the twenty eighth minute some intricate Leon play on the edge on Los Auriazules’ penalty area saw the ball be worked to left winger Jose Cardenas, before the on-loan man coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Just as it appeared the game would head into the break at 2-1, Tigres grabbed a third. The goalscorer was Tito Villa - a player who was forced to sit out the entirety of the Clausura in a bid to overcome injury. His delight at heading home Torres Nilo’s cross was evident, as he wheeled away pumping the air with his fists before being engulfed by his teammates.
Boselli once again reduced the deficit to one with half an hour to play, as Pena’s expert through-ball allowed the forward to spring the Tigres offside trap and neatly loft the ball over the onrushing Nahuel Guzman, but five minutes later Juninho scored his second free-kick in three games to restore the two goal advantage and wrap up the points for the home side.
The result lets Tigres put a difficult week behind them after the Alan Pulido saga tested the patience of fans and management alike. The Monterrey side are now right on the heels of early pacesetters Club America, with four points from two games. Leon languish in joint-last place, having already been beaten twice.
Next up for Tigres is a trip to Tijuana to face 2012 Apertura champions Xolos - a side that lost 2-1 to Club America earlier today thanks to a 96th minute winner from Pablo Cesar Aguilar. Leon’s Round Three opponents are Morelia, with the Michoacan-based side sat on one point after two games.