Adonis Frias scored in the 79th minute as host Leon defeated Tigres UANL 3-1 at Estadio Leon in Mexico on Wednesday night to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
After Tigres won the first leg of the semifinal 2-1 at San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico, last week, Leon needed to win by multiple goals to advance without a tiebreaker. Frias’ goal gave them that lead and Leon made it stand to win 4-3 on aggregate and book a matchup with Los Angeles FC of MLS in the final.
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The dates for the two-leg final have yet to be announced.
On Thursday, Fidel Ambriz tallied in the 10th minute to give Leon a lead and immediately even the teams on aggregate. Five minutes later, Angel Mena scored for Leon to make it 2-0 and put the hosts into the lead on aggregate.
Raymundo Fulgencio finally answered for Tigres with a 68th-minute goal to even things up on aggregate.
But with the game nearing its final 10 minutes of regulation, Leon earned a corner kick. Victor Davila sent the ball to middle of the box, where it was headed to Frias at the back post. Standing unmarked, Frias easily redirected the ball past goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
This will be Leon’s first appearance in a Champions League final matchup against another opponent. The club finished second in 1993, but the final was a four-team, round-robin quadrangular decided by goal differential. Saprissa of Costa Rica won with a plus-8 differential; Leon was plus-4.