Tigres UANL rally for 2-1 win over Pumas UNAM in Mexican soccer playoffs


Tigres UANL rallied for a 2-1 home victory over Pumas UNAM in the first leg of their quarter-final series in the Mexican soccer league's Apertura 2018 playoffs.

The Pumas went ahead in just the ninth minute of Thursday night's game at Estadio Universitario in this northern city when Felipe Mora knocked home the rebound after Tigres net minder Nahuel Guzman had saved a shot by Carlos Gonzalez.

The hosts responded well to the early adversity and created some opportunities on goal, but they did not get the equalizer until Javier Aquino scored on a left-footed blast from outside the area in the 68th minute.

Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar had no chance on the play because the ball had ricocheted off defender Alan Mozo.

The Tigres then kept pressing forward and scored what proved to be the game winner in the 81st minute.

That final goal was the result of an outstanding individual effort by Jesus Dueñas, who dribbled to his right to find space after an initial avenue had been closed off and unleashed a powerful right-footed shot that scooted past Saldivar.

The teams will meet again in Sunday's second leg, which will be played at Estadio Olimpico Universitario in Mexico City.

The Pumas will have to win that second match to have any chance of advancing to the semi-finals.

In other Thursday night quarter-final action, host Toluca got a last-gasp goal from Alexis Vega to secure a 2-2 home draw against Club America at Nemesio Diez Stadium.

America went ahead on two occasions thanks to goals by Emanuel Aguilera and Bruno Valdez in the seventh and 26th minutes, respectively.

Toluca answered with scores by Fernando Tobio in the 24th minute and by Vega six minutes into second-half stoppage time.

Those two teams will square off in Sunday's second leg at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

In first-leg quarterfinal action on Wednesday in the Liga MX's Apertura 2018 playoffs, Monterrey defeated Santos Laguna 1-0 at home and Cruz Azul scored a 2-0 away victory over Queretaro.

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