CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Saturday, February 4, 2012
Jonathan Bornstein and Victor Garza both saw action on Thursday night as Tigres' Copa Libertadores campaign ended with an aggregate loss to Union Espanola in the qualifying round.
Bornstein started and went 90 minutes in defensive midfield for Tigres while Garza came on in the 77th minute.
Tigres entered the game down by a 1-0 aggregate from the first round loss to Espanola last week. The return leg to Mexico favored Tigres, and they pressed the attack from the opening whistle.
The first goal came 14 minutes in, as Alberto Alvarado collected the ball on the left flank from Bornstein, then swung it across into the penalty box. Alan Pulido marched in unimpeded between Espanola's defenders to put his head on the ball right in front of goal about six yards out. Goalkeeper Eduardo Lobos was helpless to stop the headed shot.
Pulido would add another only eight minutes later, capitalizing on a horrific mistake by Espanola's Rafael Olarra, who chased a long clearance back to the box and attempted to head it into the hands of Lobos, not realizing that the goalkeeper was coming out of the box to clear it.
Olarra, not looking up to see where Lobos was, headed it over Lobos' and into the box, leaving the on rushing Pulido a wide open net to calmly head the bouncing ball into.
Tigres looked to be cruising, until the 38th minute, when Gonzalo Barriga dribbled into the center of the box. He appeared to be in on goal when Tigres captain Jose Rivas went in for a slide tackle. The tackle missed the ball, but appeared to make significant contact with Barriga, sending him tumbling to the ground.
Referee Saul Laverni immediately awarded a penalty kick, and a red card to Rivas. Instant replays showed no contact made between Rivas and Barriga, who took the opportunity to dive and draw the penalty.
Emmanuel Herrera converted the penalty kick, bringing the teams level on goal aggregate.
Tigres were now playing down a man, and the momentum had shifted to Espanola, but it seemed to even out in the 63rd minute when Mauro Diaz committed a hard foul on Fernando Moran, earning his second yellow card, leaving both teams with ten men on the field.
However, Espanola would draw even in the 68th minute, after a combination of passes on the left flank freed up Barriga to cross the ball into the box. Bornstein, tracking back to help the defense, leaped to head away the cross but was short by mere inches, leaving the ball to connect smoothly with Sebastian Jaime, who headed it past goalkeeper Aaron Fernandez.
Victor Garza entered the game in the 77th minute for Moran, in an attempt to bring a final gasp of attacking play to salvage the result. He hardly saw any action in his 13 minutes on the field, and the the final result stood, putting Tigres out of the competition.
The Chileans advanced to the next round with the result, where they will begin group play against Atletico Junior.