Liga MX Liguilla: 'SuperLider' Tigres out

Posted by Andrea Canales

Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP/Getty ImagesAn own-goal did in top-seeded Tigres who crashed out of the Liga MX Liguilla to city rivals Monterrey.

After tying a game that they needed to win, regular-season winners Tigres are out of the Liga MX Liguilla and Monterrey march on. When Tigres scored first in the match, on a nifty Damien Alvarez pass to Danilo Veron for the header, there was both relief and hope in the stadium that the bad run versus their derby rivals was over. But then Tigres scored again, and that hope died.

The problem was that Tigres scored an own-goal. The defensive error by Israel Jimenez, a regular player for the Mexican national team as well, was doubly costly because of the away-goal rule. Though the teams were tied after Tigres scored the first goal, Monterrey would have been eliminated had the score held. Instead of overtime, if the squads are tied at a goal apiece, the higher seed advances in Liguilla action. But with the new away-goal rule, Tigres would have to score twice more to overcome the mistake by Jimenez.

They weren't able to do it. Monterrey held firm in the defensive end and made the most of the own-goal gift.

After the match, Tigres coach Ricardo Ferretti was scathing in his criticism of the regulation that helped eliminate his squad.

"Without taking away from Monterrey any credit, the away-goal rule has taken away the one advantage of the regular season winner."

It's true that, according to ESPN Stats and Information, in the last 20 league tournaments, only three times has the regular-season winner gone on to win the Liguilla. This may show how the regular season is devalued to a certain respect, since what really matters is making the playoffs and playing well at that point.

Though Tigres wouldn't be the first club to suffer this fate, the away-goal rule may be another factor that only adds to the idea that there is little advantage to finishing as a higher seed.

There was less controversy over the result of the other quarterfinal playoff match. Pumas fell to America, 2-1, resulting in a global total of 3-1. It wasn't completely a runaway win, however, since Pumas scored first and threatened for a second that would have advanced them over America.

Christian "Chucho" Benitez scored twice in the second half to put Pumas away. His goal total in Mexico is now in the triple digits, and his goals were perhaps the best reply to the ugliest part of the game. According to various reports, some Pumas fans chanted racist things to the Ecuadorian striker. America players after the match claimed they did not hear such cries, but Benitez still provided the best response a player subjected to such treatment could give.

In promotion action, Neza triumphed over Necaxa to become champion and now waits in the wings to join Liga MX for the Apertura.

The deciding games of the other quarterfinals will be played today. Santos Laguna and Atlas have all to play for after a 0-0 opening led. As I both hoped and predicted, Morelia versus Cruz Azul was barnburner at 4-2. Though Cruz Azul holds a major advantage, the away-goal rule could strike again. If Morelia wins 2-0, they advance.

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