Tigres earned their eighth Liga MX title on Sunday after defeating Chivas 3-2 through extra time in the second leg of the 2023 Clausura final.
Following a chaotic season with three different managers since February, Tigres turned things around through their fifth league title in the last decade. Hosted at a sold-out Estadio Akron in Guadalajara, Chivas first took charge at home after a scoreless draw in the previous leg. Through a direct approach going forward, midfielder Roberto “Piojo” Alvarado capitalized on a mid-range shot in the 11th minute that put Chivas up 1-0.
Reinvigorated by the goal and the celebrations in the stands, Los Rojiblancos would soon find the back of the net once again. With a perfectly-timed cross from Alvarado off a corner, captain Victor Guzman slotted the ball past Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman and pushed Chivas up 2-0 by the 20th minute.
With an early advantage, Paunovic directed his players to sit back and absorb pressure, eventually holding the scoreline at 2-0 by the halftime whistle.
Chivas held defensively strong in the early stages of the second half, but then quickly began to slip up after Tigres manager Robert Dante Siboldi brought on substitutes like Nicolas “Diente” Lopez, Fernando Gorriaran and Nicolas Ibañez. Increasing their attacking pressure, Los Felinos found a way to claw back.
Through a penalty call after a handball from Chivas defender Antonio Briseño, Tigres narrowed their deficit to 2-1 after striker Andre-Pierre Gignac scored from the spot in the 65th minute. In the 71st minute, Tigres midfielder Sebastian Cordova then made it 2-2 with a well-placed header that connected with a cross from Javier Aquino.
Both teams showing signs of fatigue and exhaustion, the match eventually went into extra time after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Tigres were more proactive in the first half of extra time, but failed to finish their chances. In the second half, they then finally found the back of the net with a deflected header from Guido Pizarro that put Tigres up 3-2 in the 110th minute.
Desperate to hold the lead, Tigres midfielder Sebastian Cordova grabbed the ball after falling to the floor late into the game, thereby earning a second yellow that brought his team down to 10 players with just minutes to go.
Even so, Chivas weren’t much of a threat and eventually went down to 10 players themselves through a second yellow from Gilberto “Tiba” Sepulveda in the 120th minute. Moments afterwards, the center official blew the final whistle, crowning Tigres as the Liga MX champions for the Clausura tournament.