Once again, Bajío will host a Mexican soccer final. Lion they beat Tigres in the second-leg semi-finals thanks to an insistence-based goal in the final minutes and thereby dramatically confirming their hegemony in the current era by entering their third final in just two years.
The star of the match was the Ecuadorian striker Angel Mena, who reached eight goals in the current league by scoring a double (at 8 ‘and 85’) in the semifinal back against Tigres, played against a Nou Camp at 100% capacity, receiving more than 27,000 spectators.
Saturday turned into a totally green party from before the start of the game, as emerald fans covered the stadium with chants and flags to welcome both teams. With the timer activated, the bomb only took eight minutes to explode, remembering that León had to win by at least one goal to eliminate Tigres, who had won the first leg 2-1 at the ‘Volcán’ and was looking for a draw or victory to ensure their permanence in the final.
But from very early on, the lion’s claw was shown with a constant offensive thanks to the participation of Mena, Víctor Dávila, Jean Meneses and David Ramírez. It was thus that in a rebound on the perimeter of the area, when a penalty was requested on Dávila, the Leonese players did not show deconcentration, they immediately stole the ball and assisted Mena, who did not hesitate to cross from the right and shoot Nahuel Guzmán just at the minute eight.
The Nou Camp hotbed exploded and the noise became even more intense three minutes later when Dávila scored a second goal that did not count out of place. However, that moment served to make it clear that Leon was going all the way from the first moments, trying to overcome those led by Miguel Herrera.
A bucket of cold water was necessary to cool down the local fans and it would arrive at minute 15 after a set piece to three quarters of the court, where Nicolás López, the tournament’s top scorer, sent a left-handed cross that was received by a Diego Reyes completely alone in the area. The Tigres defender turned the ball on at first touch as if it were a lifelong center forward and, taking advantage of the deconcentration of the Leonese defense that was asking out of place, scored the 1-1 which was actually a 2-3 global in favor of the people of Monterrey.
Tigres would still have a more serious warning near the half hour thanks to an overflow from Luis Quiñones that ended with a shot from André-Pierre Gignac at the height of the small area, but fortunately for Rodolfo Cota and company, the shot was deflected. Miguel Herrera just took his head and continued applauding the enthusiasm of his forwards.
That 1-1 at the Nou Camp kept two trends for the rest of the minutes: the desperation of León and the concentration of Tigres. The locals, led by Ariel Holán, they exchanged variants in order to open up the royal defense, giving room in the field to two of the greatest figures that their institution has had in recent years but who came from strong injuries, Luis Montes and Fernando Navarro, who joined in immediately, as if they had not missed a single minute of the league.
The insistence would find its merit at minute 85, when Tigres had reinforced its defense in order to close the game with the pass to the final. After a spectacular save by Nahuel Guzmán, the rebound favored León inside the area, reaching a center whose spiker, Ángel Mena, took advantage of the flight of the ball practically over the lime line to just push it and make the stadium explode again.
Mena ran to hug her teammates on the verge of tears, because with only five minutes to go (although it was played until 98 ‘), León was turning the scoreboard again with a 3-3 aggregate that them he was passing to the final for his best place in the general table. And it is that during the regular phase, León finished in third with just one point more than Tigres and that was enough argument to stay with the fight for the title next week.
Tigers he still had a warning at minute 90 by way of Carlos González in a center that he finished off near the small area but that passed to one side of Cota’s left post. The royal players, including defenders Carlos Salcedo and Diego Reyes who went forwards, took their heads and heads in allusion to the fact that this could have been their last chance to save the 2021 Apertura and, indeed, it was.
The last thing that happened was a row that left two expelled, one per side: Luis Quiñones for Tigres and Osvaldo Rodríguez for León, but which only served to further extend the minutes of compensation, although the emeralds no longer lost concentration. and they managed to close the victory and the pass to the final.
In this way, León achieved his third final in the last two years after having been champion of the Guardians 2020 against Pumas and runner-up precisely against Tigres in the Clausura 2019. Now they are waiting for the winner of the series between Atlas and National University also to know if they open or they close at home.
If his rival is Pumas, León would close the final at the Nou Camp, but otherwise he will play the first leg at home against his people, who really did serve as a push to beat Miguel Herrera’s Tigres in the semifinals.
León accumulated three eliminations in the league against the Tigres, since the last time he was victorious was in the distant 1992-93 season. Thanks to this triumph, those from Bajío will play their eighth final of MX League and the fifth since they returned to the First Division in 2012, where they added a two-time championship between 2013 and 2014.