By Giovanni Wanneh
Sports Writer, kick442.com Cameroon
Three times CONCACAF Champions League runner-up Tigres UANL was headed for a humiliating exit on Wednesday, February 26, in their round of 16 clash against Alianza until goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman’s header stole a CONCACAF quarter finals spot for the hosts.
34-year-old veteran Argentine goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman was forgiven for having conceded 4 goals in the tie as his last-gasp header, 30 seconds to his team’s elimination, brought the Liga MX giants back to life, as they qualified (5-4) on aggregate.
The world has seen this before but in a team consisting of top-notch strikers like Enner Valencia, Andre Pierre Gignac and Eduardo Vargas, it is safe to say Guzman was the most unlikeliest hero.
Having returned from a difficult reversed fixture where outsiders Alianza won by a 2-1 margin, Tigres knew they had to hit the ground running from the very word go.
Former ‘Hammer’ Enner Valencia scored the opener before go-to-guy Andre Pierre Gignac had the hosts coaxing with a three-nil victory which was enough to swing the tie in their favour. Alianza weathered the storm just before the 45th minute mark with Juan Portillo scoring a brace of his own; at this point (3-2,) Tigres was heading for the exit.
Goalkeeper Guzman having received permission from coach Ricardo Ferreti to join the attack, made long strides unmarked and headed in Eduardo Vargas’ perfect taken free-kick to put the tie 5-4 on aggregate. The goalkeeper was engulfed in a pool of Tigres players who were already living on the edge.
With that nerve wracking victory, Tigres progress to the last 8 where they face Major league soccer’s New York city FC, with the first of two legs coming on Tuesday, March 3rd.
The CONCACAF champions league for starters is North America’s premium club competition just like the UEFA Champions League in Europe and the CAF Champions League in Africa.
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