CARSON, Calif. — Returning to Dignity Health Sports Park for the seventh consecutive year that the competition has been held, the 2023 Liga MX Campeón de Campeones saw the league’s 2023 “Clausura” winner Club Tigres square off against 2022 Liga MX “Apertura” champion C.F. Pachuca on Sunday.
Tigres 2-1 victory earned the club its second trophy in less than a month and marks their fourth time winning this competition.
“We are very happy, very happy for today’s achievement. The boys played a great game against a great rival who plays soccer very well, who has been playing well for a long time and came to this stage for a reason,” Tigres head coach Robert Siboldi said after the victory. “Today [the team] once again showed that they are hungry for victory, for achievements and to continue increasing the prestige for the institution and for our people, for our fans.”
After a half hour of play, Tigres broke through on a counter attack, the ball ended up at Juan Pablo Vigon’s feet on the keeper’s left side and all he needed to do was cross the ball to Fernando Gorriaran who did the rest.
Gorriaran’s shot off his right foot rolled into the back of the net which sent the onlooking Tigres supporter’s section into a frenzy.
After the goal, the intensity picked up and a pair of hard fouls led to both clubs picking up yellow cards to end the first half.
First it was Tigres defender Jesus Angulo, who was booked after a hard foul outside of the box in the 43rd.
The following minute, Gignac was leading a counter attack before he was fouled by Pachuca’s Pedro Pedraza, who pulled on his shirt and was also booked for a yellow card.
The pace and action picked up in the second half, as both clubs created more chances and both scored goals within two minutes of each other.
Tigres would extend their lead in the 76th minute when just moments after entering as a substitute, striker Nico Ibañez received a well-placed cross from Juan Pablo Vigon and headed in the second goal for the Tigres.
Despite trailing 2-0 late in the second half, Pachuca wouldn’t go down without a fight, as they immediately responded by pressing high which resulted in a goal.
Israel Lopez was able to convert a header of his own, assisted by Paulino Gomez, to bring the game back within reach just two minutes after falling behind by two goals.
Pachuca’s comeback efforts fell short in the end as the Tigres’ backline was able to hold until the final whistle and lift the trophy.
The victory for Tigres sets up a date with 2022 MLS Cup Champion LAFC in the upcoming 2023 Campeones Cup, to be announced at a later date. Siboldi is already looking forward to it, but he also knows there’s still room for improvement.
“We have a long way to go and we always have the idea and the aim of seeking more achievements, of playing better, of improving every day in the details,” Siboldi said. “We always take it to give our best and we are going to focus because this is a long road.”