The Macroplaza in Monterrey has been invaded. The long-suffering fans, who have waited more than a generation to see their beloved Tigres win a league title, didn't take long to converge on the Monterrey landmark after their team defeated Santos Laguna 3-1 (4-1 agg).
The result was fitting as Tigres have been the most consistent team of 2011. No team has allowed fewer goals, and it's hard to imagine more teams that make less unforced errors. Tigres have Tuca Ferretti to thank for that, of course. His rigid style does not win him many points on artistic impression, but one has to give him credit for transforming a team who had built of solid reputation of soft, over-priced, under-achievers.
There is no doubt that Tigres got the well-desered victory. Santos fans, however, will point out that our good friend and incorrigible, spotlight-chasing attention ho, referee Marco Antonio (chiquimarco) Rodriguez, did as much to determine the outcome of the game with his decisions. Chiquimarco has the fastest red card in all of Mexico, and perhaps the world, and it only took him 10 minutes to flash a red to a Santos player. Goal-keeper Oswaldo Sanchez was sent off for a tackle that was not nearly as harsh as it looked, especially when one takes into consideration how slick the playing surface was. But Chiquimarco whistled the penalty and never thought twice to reach into the back pocket. The card-happy ref gave out so many cards, he actually had two yellow cards on his person. You know, in case the first one wears out.
Santos, who ended up playing a man short for 140 of the 180 minute final, claimed a small victory when Miguel Becerra stopped Lucas Lobos penalty. Tigres fans then went into complete panic mode when Oribe Peralta got the series equalizer. The singing in the stadium came to an abrupt end, and the collective gasp by Tigres fans made the winds change direction up here in Austin.
The second half was a different story, except for the cards, of course. Tigres got the go ahead goal early in the second half, and after that even a defensive-minded team like Tigres knew it was time to go for the kill, which they did. The onslaught produced 2 more goals and countless more songs from the fans in the Volcan, who had waited 29 years to sing.
And the singing continued at Macroplaza all through the night...